I take an embodied approach to exercise. Pilates is known to be a mind-body exercise; however, if attention is given only to the external form of a movement rather than to the felt sense of it, it can’t be considered a mind-body exercise. It may still provide a physical “workout” in terms of working muscles, but there isn’t a connection being made between the mind and the body.
Make a mind-body connection.
To make a mind-body connection, we need to bring our attention to our movement. Often we are unaware of dysfunctional movement patterns whereby the force and timing of muscle activation are inappropriate, which can cause more harm than good. This situation often requires a teacher’s guidance to point out these faulty patterns and provide cuing to correct them. The intention is that the individual can then bring this awareness to activities outside of the class.
The difference between a class and a clinic.
In a class, you are guided through a series of exercises. There is a flow in which movement sequences smoothly transition from one to the next. The teacher is often performing the exercise and providing cuing, which is generalized to the group. Classes can be live (in person or virtually) or previously recorded because there is no interaction between the teacher and participants.
Ultimately, classes are a great way to participate in a guided movement practice; however, you might want to consider what I’m referring to as a clinic to enhance participation in classes.
In a clinic, general instruction is provided so that individuals can work on their own. To gain the confidence and know-how to work independently, the teacher will direct an individuals’ attention to certain aspects of their movement. Essentially, the teacher ensures that each individual optimizes their movement and that the skill can then be transferred outside of the session.
A clinic’s more individualized attention is critical because we’re not always doing what we think we’re doing. To paraphrase Moshe Feldenkrais, “When you know what you’re doing, you can do what you want.”
Get back in control.
I think this is the “control” that Pilates always referred to in his teachings. It’s the ability to know what we’re doing so that our responses are not automatic or unconscious. Ultimately we want to restore efficient movement so that we can respond to our environment in a way that doesn’t place undue strain on the body and predispose us to injury.
It’s not about perfect form but just an awareness of where you are in space and where you’re moving. To create real change, we need this enhanced awareness facilitated by skillful cuing to improve felt sense.
Sign up for Adara Movements’s April Clinics!
Led by Kris Desjardins, benefit both from this opportunity to review movement sequences commonly used in classes, receive corrections, and increase your functional strength. All event sign-ups will be done through Eventbrite. Click the name of the clinic you wish to join and choose between two dates.