The old saying practice makes perfect used to drive me crazy as a kid. I always just wanted to be correct/perfect/right the first time around. (as i’ve mentioned before, i have control issues) Generally for me, however, that was easier said than done.
When it comes to Pilates, while it may seem like there is a universal “perfect” for each pose, there really can’t be. (ahh….let off the hook) Everybody is different, so there is only a “perfect” for you. Each time you do an exercise you take the set-up, action goal, use the cueing, and allow your mind to control your body in order to help you find your ideal.
One exercise that stands out when it comes to this idea is short spine. Once you get the action it seems like an easy, fun exercise. Your legs reach up and overhead, you massage your back down, get a nice stretch. Then the particulars get involved. There is no whipping up, momentum, uncontrolled movement. The roll down is not with gravity, but precision and purpose, to find length. It becomes very frustrating to find that perfect combination of lifting the pelvis and lengthening through the legs and spine – connecting the right muscles, so you go back in one continuous up and back movement – no up, then back, no breaking at the hips or banging of the carriage. Frustrating – yes, but it’s not something that can’t be achieved, if we allow our minds to accept the cues and put our body into motion.
Carla, my instructor at Studio Be, is excellent at planting visual clues in my head to describe how to achieve the desired result. As a client it’s sometimes hard to find the perfect balance, until one day…the visual clicks and your body accepts the change. You hit your ideal!!
We don’t need to beat ourselves up looking for perfection. Don’t get me wrong – we can’t just get on the mat or reformer and start rolling around – we need to use our minds to control our bodies – to know what is moving where and when and why. We can draw inspiration from Joseph Pilates and try to think about what the things are that we can do now, to prepare our minds to move our bodies just like he intended in the first place – then we can release ourselves from that pressure for perfection, and instead, practice for our individual ideal.
I always say Pilates is my therapy. It’s because when done correctly you are fully focused on what’s moving where. So, for 55 minutes I can only think about my workout…it might start out low on energy one day, or unfocused, but Carla, Lisa or Nancy – any of the instructors at STUDIO BE – quickly get me focused, and after that HUNDRED I’m in it! Then when the session is over I’m able to get back to my day, to do list, or challenge of the day, with a fresh new look!
Suite 215 | 4211 Fairfax Corner East Ave., Fairfax, VA 22030 | Phone: 703-222-0122