by Deborah West, Master Pilates Instructor, Creator of Middle Flow Pilates Class Middle Flow is a class that I have been creatively moving towards for 18 years. And after two years of teaching it I can say it is a rewarding experience to finally see it come to full blossom. There are a few ideas that are a part of the class philosophy that do not get the attention they deserve in class, given the large group format and attention given to teaching the exercises. So if you have ever taken, wanted to take or are currently taking Middle Flow, here are a few insights into the philosophy of the class.
- Continuous Flowing Movement — The intention of Middle Flow is to have 45 minutes of constant flowing movement. As you, the student, learn the exercises and equipment, the work becomes a mindful body meditation. You focus on how the body feels in the work and what it needs to do to work safely. Continuously moving through the work and thinking about your form enables you to be in the present moment and check in with your body without distraction. It also makes the workout much harder than a stop/start approach.
- You Will Balance All Things — Every Middle Flow class is designed to be super hard or moderate—it depends on what your body needs that day. I usually provide a long list of exercises each class. With regular attendance, you begin to pick and choose how many or which exercises you want to do. Most regulars finish the list most of the time. I firmly believe that only you know if your body needs to be pushed or needs a modified pace. The name Middle Flow came from the Buddhist idea of Middle Path. The idea is to seek balance in all things. In Middle Flow, I help you find that balance. I give everyone mini privates helping everyone find that perfect flow. And I help you work through your body issues that keep coming up. I am a firm believer that constant inflammation is aging and counterproductive to a long life of movement. Though I may add some exercises that leave you sore for days, the goal is not to stay in that pattern of constant inflammation. I want you to treat your body as the temple it deserves to be….not worn out and exhausted. It is not beautiful, healthy nor enjoyable to live life that sore all the time.
- There is Music — Middle Flow Music is part of the experience. This class format allows me to have music in order to encourage my students to keep moving. Given that I grew up dancing to soul train on Saturdays and singing Johnny Cash on Sundays, my music will be diverse. I mostly play dance, hip hop, rap, funk, soul and classically inspired country. However, I am always inspired by personal requests. So please let me know what you want to hear. I make up a playlist before class that runs continuously through the flow—no stops! So requests will be played during the next class.
- Demos are Limited, So You Need Experience — All clients need to have Pilates experience with all the equipment before attending Middle Flow, ideally attending my Fast Track class first. Though it is not absolutely necessary to go to Fast Track first, expect to not know all the exercises if you do not. I give 10 to 15 minutes of instruction prior to the flow. However, that is not enough time to demonstrate all the work. If you are brand new to my classes, you will be relying on class participants to see some of what you do not know. Of course, I am there for if you get lost or confused.
- Come prepared to change the way you move — My goal is to get you so ingrained in proper movement patterns that you move with elegance, confidence and good form everywhere! The advantage of Pilates is that it teaches good form that applies to everything else you choose to do outside Pilates. I will be correcting your form and explaining to you why it’s good form. If you hurt yourself in one class, we will be exploring how to fix that in the next. I desire your body feedback. And the form you learn in Middle Flow will enable you to know your body better for any class you may take at Castle Hill. Pilates is by design a university for your body. It is not a side goal for me, it is the main goal!