Pilates is movement. Life is movement. Pilates is life, condensed and systematized for our optimal experience of the whole.
Our bodies are in constant motion. Really. I know that you may not believe me since you’re probably sitting on your duff reading this. But you are breathing, yes? And your heart is beating. And whether you know it or not, each organ is doing it’s own little dance, or at least trying to (sometimes the record skips a beat). All this amounts to quite a party going on in your body all day, every day. And you are the host.
If you are looking for some reminders of your natural tendency toward movement, watch young people (the ones who haven’t yet been to school or been responsible for a permanent bottom shaped indentation on the sofa) and animals. Consider the natural cycles of trees and plants, the ever changing moon, and remember to look up and enjoy the endless variety of skyscapes that we have above us each and every day. Life is change, you are change. Embrace the change. Be a delightful host.
While we are all in constant motion at some level in our bodies, we each have some very real risks of stagnation. Our thoughts and emotions can become rigid and unchanging, as can our outer bodies (our muscles and joints in particular). Lack of movement in any one area, affects the whole of the body. Much of what we do with our most superficial bodies these days is stationary. In most of what we are doing, we are sitting or in a relatively stable position, for far longer than is suitable for our moving bodies.
This gives me the notion of a hard shell around a dynamic body. Clearly the hard shell sets limits on the contents. Pilates offers us an opportunity to “soften” the shell with movement. As the outer layer of our bodies becomes supple, so do the inner layers experience freedom to move for optimal functioning. At the most basic level, Pilates gets us moving. While doing each Pilates exercise very well can yield exceptional results, simply doing each exercise with a sense of keeping moving can yield surprising results.
Joseph Pilates realized the risks of human life as he observed how we were ever becoming a society of un-moving people on account of our more sedentary work and social lives. He predicted our declining health at a collective level before our life-expectancy rates mysteriously began to drop. And so he developed what he considered, and what many have found to be, an elixir to reverse the worst effects of our less than civilized ways of living. That was back in the middle of the twentieth century. While plenty of people have benefited from his work, there are still millions who stand to improve their lives with knowledge and practice of his innovations.
And so it seems to me that it is time to get moving……