ZEN•GA® is a unique mind-body modality that fuses elements of Pilates, yoga, martial arts and meditation into a series of flowing movements that emphasize the breath and strengthen both body and mind.
With an effective breath pattern, good posture and an energetic and physical connection with the environment, the right amount of tone is created in the body to facilitate flow in each movement. Mini Stability Balls™, Flex-Band® Exercisers and spring resistance are used to provide a workout that balances strength, flexibility and breath work. The ZEN•GA Mindful Movement Principles of Breath, Support, Yield and Flow are used to cue effectively, helping clients differentiate from the feeling and sensations found in Pilates. These Mindful Movement Principles are key to improving client awareness and ultimately creating a more productive ZEN•GA workout.
Below are four tips to help you take your cueing to the next level.
Set an intention
Setting an intention for the class helps the Instructor focus and define cues, and can help clients better navigate the sensations in their bodies. For example, if the Instructor wants to work on rotation in the class, begin with a rotation exercise. First, ask the clients to feel the current rotation in their own bodies. Have them get a sense of what their range of motion is before the workout. Cue them to rotate to each side and direct cues toward range, sensation in the spine/hips, comfort level and alignment. Once they have a good idea of the rotation in each side, then the Instructor can start to work on improving the movement pattern through a series of exercises within the workout. With the goal of improving rotation, the Instructor can then focus on adding pulsing movements in rotation, cueing the direction the ribs should face, adding in a prop to help rotate further. You can then retest this at the end to see if improvement and/or ease of movement is found in rotation.
Increase body awareness
Increased body awareness is the ultimate goal of the class. After calling attention to how they feel at the start of the class, throughout the workout Instructors can initiate awareness checks after doing unilateral movements. For example, with Breathing Side Over a Mini Stability Ball, have the clients sit and compare each side of the ribcage after having first done one side of the body, then the other. Instructors can draw clients’ attention to the space between the ribs, the flexibility of the shoulder, the freedom on each side as they breathe, etc. At the end of the workout, return to the exercise from the beginning of class and direct the clients’ attention to the post-workout physical sensations of the body and invite them to compare this with what they felt at the start of the class.
Use the principles
Cues need to be applicable to the position the client is in, and easy to understand and incorporate. The ZEN•GA Mindful Movement Principles of Breath, Support, Yield and Flow give Instructors a framework for helping clients better connect with their bodies. Use these as a guideline to create cues that are simple, effective and powerful.
Add variety for comprehension
Every client responds differently to cues, and it’s important to have a variety of ways of cueing a movement or a technique to accommodate this difference. ZEN•GA courses teaches imagery such as Star Fish, Cobra, Masses & Spaces, Ground or Root Into the Mat, Inflate or Deflate Your Ribcage Like a Balloon. When detailed correctly, these concepts heighten the movement potential and can have a huge impact on the client’s connection to the exercise.
To see ZEN•GA in action, check out:
To learn more about the ZEN•GA Mindful Movement Principles, see The Four Mindful Movement Principles of ZEN•GA.