WILLETT WORDS OF WISDOM
WHAT IS PILATES
So often, I see people peeking their heads through my window wondering what the heck is going on in here. In addition to many other facets of my services, Pilates is one aspect of my teaching. It is important to understand what this component is about. I read magazines and articles which focus on the glitzy body of someone who does Pilates (whatever that means…does Pilates?). Pilates is not about glitz and glamour. It is about total health that honors each individual body. You don’t do Pilates. It is a practice and it involves hard work. Some describe it as a type of exercise. One of my mentors Ron Fletcher, who studied with Joe and Clara Pilates, did not like the word exercise. Exercise has come to imply something that we do to break up our day of sitting. People tick off exercise from their list of things to do. Fletcher preferred the words movement pieces. As Fletcher said:
Movement should be approached like life, with enthusiasm, joy and gratitude - for movement is life and life is movement and you get out of it what you put into it.
Fletcher said that the trouble is when people mistake Pilates for an exercise regime. He said is it not that; instead, it is an art and a science and a study of movement. He believed those who approached it as exercise would be doing the same thing ten years from now; and, would miss getting to the point of saying wow! as they shouted with joy at how they were actually capable of moving. Pilates involves intention and focus and hard work. It is about vitality and quality and style and excellence.
Joe Pilates called his work Contrology. Some things that Joe Pilates said in his book Return to Life through Contrology include:
~ ”Contrology is complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit. With body, mind, and spirit functioning perfectly as coordinated whole, what else could reasonably be expected other than an active, alert, disciplined person? Such a body freed from nervous tension and over-fatigue is the ideal shelter provided by nature for housing a well-balanced mind that is always fully capable of successfully meeting all the complex problems of modern living.”
~ ”Many of us at the end of our daily work lack sufficient energy at night for recreation.”
~ “…forms of play tend materially to renew our vitality with accompanying moral uplift.”
~ “…there is no good reason why we should unnecessarily and unreasonably tax our bodies beyond bound of endurance, especially since doing so results in hurting ourselves.”
~ “Breathing is the first act of life and the last. Our very life depends on it. Lazy breathing converts the lungs, figuratively speaking, into a cemetery for the deposition of diseased, dying, and dead germs as well as supplying an ideal haven for the multiplication of other harmful germs. Therefore, above all, learn to breathe correctly.”
~ “If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you’re old; if it is completely flexible at 60, you’re young.”
I approach the work as a way of life. It truly is about connection – as above, so below; as within, so without. It is a way of moving through life feeling connected to your own spirit. It is about knowing that the body is the beautiful vessel that houses the soul; and, is the barometer that guides each of us on our individual journeys that intersect with others. As a teacher, I am simply the facilitator – bringing the tools I have to facilitate the connections of one’s body-mind-spirit through movement. It is through movement that we make discoveries. It is through movement that we become aware of who we are and what we need to take care of ourselves.
Ron Fletcher teaching me 2009
©AnneLloydWillett October 2018
©AnneLloydWillett October 2018