By Fuse teacher and guest blogger, Monica Shores
Picking my favorite Fuse class to teach is like picking a favorite color—which, if you’ve been exposed to my fashion sense, is something I struggle with. How can I choose when I adore them all? Toys multiplies the already plentiful Fuse catalog of exercises while Jump gets people sweating more heavily than any of our other offerings (though Lisa might want to do a Will Power and Grace sweat-off to settle that definitively.) Yet in my heart of hearts, I know that Foundations is my choice. So I’m going to say it loud and proud: I love teaching Foundations.
Foundations is probably the most misunderstood class we offer at the Fuse Playground, so let me take this opportunity to address some of the most common questions that come up.
If I’m new to the studio, do I have to take Foundations?
No. Foundations is not a requirement for any of our other classes. But if you have an injury, haven’t exercised much recently, or have never been exposed to Pilates before, taking Foundations before a regular mat class might make you feel more comfortable with our form of movement.
I’m worried Foundations will be too easy for me. Foundations is really easy, right?
No! All of us at Fuse understand that your time is precious, and if you’re putting an hour into exercise, you want to get something out of it. It’s fairly common for regular mat classes students to drop into a Foundations class from time to time, and without fail, they’ll comment to me afterwards, with surprise, “that was hard!” In all of our classes we try to challenge students without discouraging them, and Foundations is no different. Movements here are usually slower to allow you to focus on your form and, as you’ll quickly learn if you don’t already know, slow = hard.
So how is it different from a regular mat class? Is it HARDER than a regular mat class?
Yikes, sorry—I didn’t mean to make it sound that hard. The difference between a regular mat class and a Foundations class is a) the pace and b) the intensity. In Foundations, you’ll do less repetitions and take more breaks, so you won’t have to feel that lactic acid burn for so long. That means your neck and hip flexors—the two most complained about body parts for newer students—get more time to rest and stretch. But the structure and exercises are the same. For example, I’ve taught Kneeling Side Kick, an advanced classical exercise, in Foundations before when it’s been appropriate for the students on that particular day. But I keep it brief and allow for a big stretch between switching sides.
Alright. How many times do you recommend I take Foundations before moving on to regular mat?
You know, some students never stop taking Foundations. That doesn’t mean they don’t move on to regular mat; they just keep coming to Foundations while trying out other classes. One student told me she’s tried regular mat but likes Foundations better. Whatever works for you! Movement is good for your body. It doesn’t have to be the be strenuous, grimace-inducing kind to be of benefit. (Not that our non-Foundations classes induce grimaces… We are strictly a smile-producing facility.) Plus, Foundations classes are smaller and allow you to ask more questions, which is important to some students.
You can always ask the Foundations teacher after class how she thinks you’ll do in regular mat if you have any specific concerns.
And remember – as long as we’re showing up, we’re all hardcore – no matter which class we’re taking.