It’s important to know that the actual design of your trademark is only one section of your evaluation—don’t get too caught up with this aspect as we don’t expect everyone to be an expert at putting these movements together. Your main focus should be on the correct execution of each exercise, the application of techniques, and how you communicate your cues, imagery, modifications and objectives—effectively. There are many exercises to choose from, so don’t be afraid to repeat things. While we appreciate beautifully designed and creative sequences—the main thing that we’re looking for is you being able to create sequences that will balance the front, back and sides of your body with focus on the “Top 3” and “Big 4” using a mix of long and short levers.
You may get inspiration from various Essentrics or Classical Stretch DVD workouts, or even other PCWs. Here is an example of the two trademark exercises used in Level 1 to give you a better idea of how we create a balanced trademark:
Let music be your tool and guide during the movements, as musicality is a very crucial component to your trademarks. Explore genres of classical music and movie soundtracks and make sure you are taking your time to go to the end of the stretch and complete each movement.
Trademark Sequence 1: Side lunges and diagonal arms
1. Side lunge- Top 3 Sides + Long Lever
2. Single arm circle- Top 3 Sides & front + Long Lever
3. Side lunges long lever- Top 3 side + Long lever
4. Pagoda side lunge- Top 3 side + Short lever
5. Side lunge both arms- Top 3 side + long lever
Repeat both side x3
6. Diagonal reaches single arm- Top 3 front & back + short & long lever
7. Diagonal reaches double arms- Top 3 front & back + short & long lever
8. Diagonal reaches open double arms- Top 3 front & back + short & long lever
Trademark Sequence 2: Windmills and Pulling Weeds
1. Windmills- Top 3 front & back + long lever
2. Wiping windows- Top 3 sides + short lever
3. Lullaby’s- Top 3 back + short lever
Repeat each exercise 3x on each side before moving on to the next
4. Pulling Weeds- Top 3 front & back + short & long lever
Pull weeds from each angle on each side
Below: Level 4 Certified Instructor Josephine Cuthill from Toronto, Ontario offers advice on working with new clients (specifically on her experience working with a client who suffers from severe MS)
“First off, be confident. They came to you as a fitness instructor not as a healer and although they may get the healing benefits from this extraordinary technique they are just like every other new student who needs a bit of extra coaching. If you can, find out as much as you can about their injury or condition by asking questions. Even research it if you have time to understand what is and what exercises are considered beneficial or harmful and what parts of Essentrics may be a little bit more challenging for them (this is where your Level 3 really comes in handy). Also, ask questions about it from your community of instructors or the girls in the Montreal office.
Smile and make eye contact. People want to feel included and capable in class, but also want to know that they are in good hands with you. Give appropriate cues and address their injury in a way that is inclusive like saying ‘this is good for…………’. With any injured student who approaches me ahead of the class I talk to them about any modifications they can do. For Ilona, we spoke on the phone ahead of time and I provided her some specific options and modifications privately to get the most out of the class.
With injured students, you want to be a bit more patient and repetitive. Go back to the basic cues for injury—do the exercises loose/lazy, go a bit slower, remember that if it becomes painful, to shake out and come back to it, keep everything moving, use your techniques of going to the end of a stretch safety and cue alignment consistently. Giving these general cues and once in a while mentioning the injury in your class will remind all people how to do this technique and let the injured student know you listened. I don’t call people out by name either but I make eye contact and smile with these clients in particular so they know I have them in mind.
I suggest that injured students be placed where they can see me easily. With Ilona, balance was a big issue, so she chose a spot at the back where she could grab onto the wall if she felt she was unstable but could see clearly. That’s the first step, being able to see each other. Also, I give the ‘do it loose/lazy and listen to the body’ cue but I also tell them that their first time is likely going to be the most difficult in terms of following some specific exercises so they should be patient and try a few times to get into the movement. At the end, I check in with them to see how it felt and we discuss anything they felt or noticed. This is good learning information for us too! “
– Josephine Cuthill
Catherine Cateysson – Val-Morin, Quebec
Andrea Kleman – Montreal, Quebec
Meaghan Mathews – Pacific, Missouri
Carrie James – Richmond, Michigan
Nicole Gage – Weare, New Hampshire
Diane Goldman – Denver Colorado
Zsuzsa Tamas – Calgary, Alberta
Jessica Bart – Aurora, Colorado
Audrey Chevrier – Montreal, Quebec
Jennifer Mulligan –Niagara Falls, Ontario
Judy Hernder – Niagara Falls, Ontario
Kristina Tzvetkova– St Catherine’s, Ontario
What was your inspiration for the Design of your Website?
“It takes a village” absolutely applies to the development of my website! I wanted a site that has a clean, fresh look and feel, and that would appeal to people of all ages and abilities. It was also important to me that the website content and photos convey what Essentrics is all about—that it’s a unique method, that it emphasizes dynamic stretching and movement, and that it is not yoga or Pilates, for example. I work at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as a health & wellness coach, where I’m surrounded by so many smart, creative people. A colleague introduced me to Norman Wozniak (www.normanwozniak.com), a web designer and fellow MIT community member. When we met, I felt that Norman really listened to me and understood my goals with the site. It was Norman who suggested, for example, that I should add a video on the homepage because Essentrics is about movement rather than static holding of poses. I have to give Norman most of the credit for designing such a beautiful site. One of my other MIT colleagues, Barbara Lipohar, is a photographer (b-lip.500px.com), and she took the photos. I owe a big thanks to my co-workers as well for volunteering to let me teach them and to appear in the photos. We are lucky to have so many amazing spots on the MIT campus, and that is where the photos were taken. I particularly love the photos with the Boston skyline in the background.
What are the benefits of Building community versus Competition?
It was one year ago that I saw Miranda’s PBS show. I immediately Googled Essentrics in Boston and found Severina’s website. As it turns out, we live in the same city just north of Boston! I went to one of Severina’s classes, and she graciously agreed to have coffee with me. Her passion and commitment to Essentrics was so inspiring. I was considering taking the L1 training, and my conversation with Severina tipped the scale. When I was getting ready to shoot my L1 video, Severina agreed to let me teach her a class, and she gave me all kinds of helpful teaching tips and suggestions. Severina introduced me to another local teacher, Leah Becker, and we are forming a small community in this area. Severina is so knowledgeable and passionate about Essentrics. I’m grateful for all the work that she has done to increase awareness, and for her support and guidance. I think it’s so important for teachers to connect and support one another so that we don’t get discouraged or burnt out. The more people who are raising awareness in a community about Essentrics, the more opportunities there will be for all instructors. I look forward to supporting more local instructors along their Essentrics journey as the community grows.
How have you been able to incorporate Essentrics with the other trainings you have as a Kripalu yoga instructor, wellness coach, and mindfulness practitioner?
I became certified to teach Essentrics in October 2015. Since then, I have been teaching classes at MIT where I work almost full-time. I have been getting so much positive feedback from participants, and I love the diversity of my classes. I teach students, staff, faculty, and retirees. Being an Essentrics instructor is very complementary to the work that I do as a health & wellness coach. I work with many people who are sedentary and/or in mid-life and beyond. I’ve told a lot of them about the benefits of Essentrics, and now many of my coaching participants take my Essentrics classes. Recently, I’ve been working with a seventy-year-old coaching client who is planning to hike the Olympic Mountains this summer. She has enthusiastically incorporated Essentrics into her stretching routine to help her prepare!
I no longer teach yoga, but my yoga training taught me a lot about respecting my body and about being compassionate towards myself. I try to encourage my class participants to cultivate that same respect and kindness for themselves. My experience with mindfulness also helps me to stay grounded and present while I’m teaching. I believe it’s important to connect with people individually and to let them know that I see them, and that I care about their health and wellbeing.
What is your future with Essentrics?
I am planning to work through the certification levels and become L4 certified so that I can increase my knowledge of the Essentrics method and feel confident teaching people of all abilities. I’m really excited to attend the L1 workshop in NYC and L2 in Montreal this summer. My short-term goal is to get as much experience as I can with a variety of populations. I’m looking forward to learning the new Aging Backwards routine, and to bringing that approach to a more sedentary and/or older population. Eventually, I’d like to teach Essentrics in integrative health settings, and also work with people one-on-one in a therapeutic way. I want to enjoy every step of this journey, but I think it’s important to balance that with long-term goals. So, I aspire to someday become a Master Essentrics Instructor, and to help and support other teachers along their journey.