My experience in Mozambique set me along a month of soaking up whatever Yoga I could experience in Cape Town. I loved every minute of April...like a teenager set loose. It gave me the freedom of expression dance used to give me and it was NOVEL! I indulged myself, pushing my joints and my spirit into this physically familiar but new environment. And I strained both my hamstrings! No-one’s fault but my own. I pushed that little too far, over the edge and got the message to reign myself back in. I haven’t stopped Yoga, in fact the timing was incredible - I met Michelle (PM’s new resident Yogi) and she will be starting Yoga at Prime Movement next week! Her teaching holds you in a manner that is safe and challenging. So in our 10 mat studio Michelle’s teachings will have the platform to build on understanding and realistic accomplishment.
The beginning of my journey into Yoga obviously led me to reflect on Pilates. We all know I am a Classical Mat fiend so the Vinyasa sequence kept bringing me back to one question...The Classical Mat has this kind of systemized sequencing...Why are we not teaching it the way Yoga teaches theirs? Offering the bigger picture (Joe’s work) with basic adaptations.
Within its popularity for healing injuries has Pilates become too precious, too focussed on perfection, too careful? Even with the general healthy public? We spend so much time preparing bodies for correct movement that at the end of the day we often aren’t teaching Pilates!
Enter International Pilates Day on 4 May 2013...As Chairperson of the Pilates Method Alliance - Southern Africa Chapter, I hosted a dedication to the Classical Mat on the grass next to the Mouille Point Lighthouse. From The 100 to The Pushup, very mixed levels, mixed understanding...and guess what, it WORKED! Brilliantly! Each person ended that 30 minute workout on a high, feeling the effect of The Method, the intention of Joseph Pilates.
Have we come full circle? Have we over-analysed to the point of obstruction? Should we return to the original work? Why did we abandon it in the first place? Yoga never left their roots. Who hijacked the essence of Pilates?
What I do know from my own experience is that for the last 20 years Pilates has accessed the body cognitively, via the brain. Correcting, re-aligning, creating body awareness, conscious reprogramming.
What I also know from my own research is that current studied thought is moving towards accessing less ‘cognitive brain’ function to facilitate change, rather working with more direct feeling through the ‘emotional brain’, i.e. speaking & thinking less, feeling more!
So my challenge to myself and our teachers is - Let’s work the work! Allow clients the opportunity to experience the Classical Mat. Never irresponsibly, that would be impossible as safety is ingrained in our training. But go for it, feel PILATES, do PILATES, teach PILATES, trust PILATES!