In his book ‘Return to Life through Contrology’, Joseph Pilates describes theinternal shower that results from his exercises like a heavy rainstorm that “freshens the water of a sluggish or stagnant stream and whips it into immediate action”. And because (as all of my clients are well aware), I love to use images when cueing to help fire the brain, I love the idea of showering the body from the inside out!
It is the practice of this concept and the ultimate understanding of how to consistently work from inside out, that throws the traditional grunt exercises we have all done at some time of our lives (and still see and hear in gyms around the globe!) into complete shocking contrast.
It’s a well known fact that Joseph spent much time watching the effortless movements of animals and children. Imagine for a moment if a lioness had chosen her prey, stealthily approached for the attack, and then – with a hugeGRUNT! – tried to leap in for the kill. It is only the complete synergy of movement intention and muscular proportion, balanced with perfect breath flow that creates that perfect effortless motion. And, yes, it comes from the inside out.
Why is it that a farm worker born and bred on the land can, with ease, pick bales of grass and rhythmically throw them from ground to truck effortlessly and endlessly? I challenge a classic ‘buff’, six-pack extravaganza to compete with this. My money is on the jock failing first.
And – now I’m really pushing the controversy button – the ability to move without obvious enormous external effort requires the accurate cueing and guidance of a well-educated and knowledge confident instructor. It does beg the questions, Are training courses graduating students with creative and commercial choreography? Are we helping students truly understand how this incredible system can genuinely enhance every aspect of an individual’s life?
There are great and learned teachers and writings so accessible to all of us now. I challenge both students and teachers alike of any movement to seek out the training and workshops that offer more than just choreography!
It is only when we truly feel in our own bodies what real strength, control and flow is that we can then try to genuinely teach and help others.