(In thinking about how I wanted to be a mom, long before it actually happened, I knew that I wanted my babes close by, especially in my little Pilates studio. What better way to give them a foundational relationship to the work that is intended to be a foundation to everything else that we do? My boy has taken to the equipment like a fish to water as the above photo from over a year ago demonstrates. Just yesterday we three were in the studio for some play time and he was showing me his exercises on the ladder barrel, reformer and the mat, but of course he started with his feet – such a smart boy.)
In my studio practice I got a jump start on new year’s resolutions a few weeks back. I’ve always been a fan of checking in with clients to learn about what goals they may have for their practice in the year ahead. As of now, everybody has at least one thing to work on, be it new exercises, memorizing an order, or finally giving appropriate attention to an oft neglected corner of the Pilates system – which is to say that everybody is working on their feet these days.
It’s ironic that Joe Pilates’ first patented invention, the foot corrector, should be the first one that we forget, and yet I can understand why. The work on the feet is subtle and that quickly gives way to tedium. My frequent attempts at sharing the valuable information have mostly been thwarted by clients’ lack of interest and my lack of stamina. But it’s such foundational work. As Javier Velazquez points out in the recent biography, Joe Pilates’s understanding and emphasis of the importance of the feet is indicative of his genius. So it seems to me that those of us who are inspired to pay our due respects to the originator of the method that we now happily practice have something of an obligation to continually face down the challenge of engaging with our feet and getting our clients to do the same. I’m certain that if we keep at it, we will cross through the tedium into an enlightened awareness of just how important our feet are to the whole of our bodies. And the more earnest we are in our presentation, the more willingly our clients will follow our lead, much to their own benefit.
Once again, Happy New Year! Let’s get to work!