By Tamsen Simon, Pilates instructor, MVMTLAB
Let me begin the way I begin my drop-in classes: what do you know about Pilates? Generally, the response is “a bit”. This is great - My favorite thing is to introduce people to Pilates and watch them learn their bodies anew.
Ultimately, I’m simply an observer. You live in your body.
I teach Pilates, but far more, Pilates teaches me. Insert epic eye-roll here, I understand! There are so many buzzwords and pithy little motivational quotes that it’s all noise.
Stripped down to its bare bones & essence, we can sum it up to this:
Pilates is movement and movement teaches us
What I do is watch your movement. For an hour at a time, I pay attention to the details. I watch you to see if the muscle that I know produces a movement, is being correctly activated or not. I watch you understand your range of motion in any given joint. How quickly you release out of an exercise (relief!) tells me how difficult that likely was for you. You don't even have to speak - your body tells me all sorts of things.
I translate these things back to you - from movements to words - and you connect the dots. It’s the best discussion of the week and you’ve barely had to say a word! Although, I do appreciate when you share your discoveries with me in words.
What do you know about your body? What movements do you avoid and most importantly, why? Most of us avoid pain and discomfort. Understandably. How has that affected what you believe you are capable of?
I’ve stopped attempting to demonstrate each exercise, because I’ve realized how many people will do something if they are guided through it, but would never even have attempted if they’d known the look of it beforehand. However, while they are in the movement and as I guide them, they feel safe, supported and are listening to their body. They trust my lead and they break through barriers of movement they thought would have never been possible.
Pilates is meant to be short repetitions of small movements that work very specific muscles, so that you get through a conversation with your entire body within an hour.
Focus your attention on anything, and you will learn something about it. Spend some time in your body. Grow beyond what you know.