One of my favorite sayings of Marjorie Oron’s is that “our bodies travel through time.” As practitioners and students of Romana’s Pilates I recall experiencing and witnessing confusion at times. One instructor said this…another instructor had someone do that… The work is the same. How it is processed by various bodies differs. Even the same body a week later may benefit from a slight variation on how their feet are placed on footwork (for example). One is not right or wrong, but may be more beneficial on a given day. Being a self-proclaimed perfectionist, it took me a while to grasp this concept. But it really couldn’t be clearer. Our bodies are constantly changing day to day. The concepts remain constant- we just have to roll with the tide.
This past weekend we were reminded of how much information can be obtained by simply watching a person walk. We are often reminded that this is one of Romana’s favorite past times, but understanding why is crucial. Were does a person hold tension? Where is the imbalance? Are the hips forward? Is the head forward? And the list goes on…. From those seemingly simple observations, a whole lesson can be structured or colored with a certain emphasis or focus. It is important to gear exercises toward a specific body and introduce movement how and when a person is ready for them. As opposed to giving a student something new, just to give it. It sounds so simple, yet it is not easy. Continuing to “train our eye” is one of our biggest challenges as teachers. So if we are REALLY looking at you as you enter the studio, please don’t be freaked out or offended, we are just determining the course of your lesson for the day.
We are so fortunate to be able to host a workshop this weekend that is exclusively for our students this on “deepening your mat work.” Really analyzing the most “basic” of the Pilates mat can give you crucial information of how it pertains to your body. For example- the Roll-up, can not only detect weak areas of your Powerhouse, but it can magnify muscular imbalances which can carry through your exercise and your life. Hearing someone else’s approach/explanation of an exercise (especially a Master Instructor such as Marjorie Oron), can help to trigger something new within an exercise. These seemingly “little” adjustments can be huge within one’s body. Can’t wait to share some wonderful tidbits!
What a terrific time! There were over 200 participants from all over the world. Such a great time to reconnect with colleagues and really dig deep into the concepts of Pilates. I have come away refreshed and rejuvenated which always frightens my students a bit. “Uh oh- she just got back from the conference.” Over the next couple of weeks, I will share some bits from the wonderful workshops that we attended. Without comparison, the legacy that Romana has created is phenomenal. We are all striving to continue the work of Joseph Pilates how we were taught by his protegé.
Need more hours in the day? Hardly time to catch your breath, let alone exercise? How about some “standing footwork/a.k.a. 2 X 4″ while brushing your teeth or waiting in the grocery store line. Or arm weight series while waiting for your coffee to brew or water on the stove to boil. Castanets while your shower heats up- get the idea? It doesn’t have to be much- every little bit helps. We can all work on applying our Pilates in life, for life.
Many folks that don’t completely understand the “classical” or “traditional” method of Pilates think that we are trying to take the natural curve out of the spine- so not true! The spine has wonderful curves that act as shock absorbers of the body, so why would we want to take those away? Those that are correctly trained in the Romana’s Pilates Method do not walk around with their tailbones tucked under. Not only would that be awkward and unhealthy but one would look very silly.
We encourage the “pulling in and up” of the abdominal muscles to lengthen and support the spine in it’s ongoing battle against gravity. This works to bring the front of the pelvic bones aiming vertically as opposed to tilting backwards or forwards.
Joseph Pilates really was a “genius of the body.” (As stated many times by Romana and Sari.) The more we learn about the body, the more evident that becomes.