I have a lovely friend I went though teacher training with who seems to absorb Pilates through her pores. She sees an exercise and can execute it flawlessly, effortlessly. So cool! I often wish that were me; but it’s not. Grace and I have never been on a first name basis. I wasn’t born with that casual ease of movement that comes when your brain and your muscles all talk to each other and work in sync. You know what I mean – that incredible moment when you see a dancer leap in the air defying gravity or a NFL football player move the ball down the field dodging defending players without missing a step. That awesome harmony of mind and body working smoothly to make something beautiful happen. Yeah that moment …..somehow I missed out on that gene. Then I found Pilates and a whole language of exercise that filled the gap, teaching my mind and body to work together.
So how does it work? When you do Pilates you have to focus; you have to think. No calling it in watching TV while on the treadmill or worrying about getting the laundry done while mindlessly doing squats. When you do Pilates, you have to think about the work and for a perfect, peaceful hour let everything else go. And what an hour – one dedicated to your amazing body which; lets face it; is with you through thick and thin (ok bad pun) but honestly, without your body where would you be? So taking an hour to celebrate your body and learn how to work with it, to “talk to it” is a wonderful thing. Our brains, muscles and bones are all meant to work together. It’s easy to lose sight of that when you are trying to get the bills paid. The sheer business of life can make it pretty easy to forget your body, the very thing that makes you alive. How many times do you think about the complexity and beauty of your moving body as you buy groceries or get the mail – what makes your hand move, your legs bend? Is how you move helping your quality of life or hampering it? That’s where Pilates comes in. It’s an hour dedicated to reminding your brain that it works in partnership with your muscles and bones. That you are an amazing system that works at it’s very best when it works in harmony. What a concept, all the parts of your body being present and learning to work together; to talk to each other.
Well aren’t they already doing that you might ask? Dunno, does your lower back hurt? how about your knees or shoulders? How’s your balance? Pilates exercises remind your body and your brain that it works best when it works as a system. That your pelvis alignment impacts how your knees move and feel, that your cervical spine (the top) impacts how your lumbar (the bottom) spine feels and that a strong core enables effortless movement in your limbs. The exercises teach your muscles and bones where they should be in relation to each other and how to work as a team. Your muscles, bones and mind working as a team to make you feel better – that’s Pilates! The exercises also teach you that the worry that you carry in your head is reflected in your body. They are more then just a series of specific physical steps; they are a connection of specific steps, executed in a exacting way, with a goal to teach your body to move optimally, in harmony. Over time your mind and body partnership is reborn. You feel yourself standing taller; moving your limbs with less effort and pain and adjusting your body to its environment with ease.
Joseph Pilates and his beautiful simple yet exercises are the ultimate interpreter teaching my brain, muscles and bones to work together; to talk to each other. My missing gene. How cool is that! I may never leap into the air or run a football down the field but I will move without pain in a body that is strong and present thanks to my Pilates practice.