Monday, June 10, 2013

"Springboard-ing" into a new body: IE re-learns Pilates

Ever wish you could do this?

Imagine, showing up at some incredible sports medicine facility and having someone clip some sticky wires onto you that could tell you what is going on in there! Of course, this contraption would then send magical charges to heal/change those difficult/injured areas. 

Common Dance Injuries

Well instead of that IE has taken up Pilates to tackle a hardly debilitating, but still irritating, knee injury. 

IE has finished up two weeks of Pilates, three times a week, coupled with swimming, elliptical, or hiking.  (no Piloxing, running, or other high impact exercise)

Over the course, IE has improved physically, but the greatest change is mental. It's realizing that injury and recovery is really about learning to see and use your body differently. As we age we get a longing for what we remember about our bodies. Remember when you woke up and nothing hurt?

However, as our bodies’ age and change, they acquire injury and information. So we are left with the conundrum of a larger body of knowledge, and yet a somewhat limited ability in certain parts. So we accept that we must learn to use our bodies wisely, with specificity, and precision. 

At the heart of this realization for IE and ID is a growing sense of wonder to uncover something new. This is the “ahaa moment” the “that’s what she means, that’s how it works.”


Pilates exercises develop this awareness by challenging you to use the smaller internal not-so-easy-to-access parts of the body to do the work. And also and by asking your body to do this in unfamiliar ways.

 pilates photo: pilates pilates-zurich.jpg

In class we did leg exercises standing next to the spring board, putting our foot in the strap and "soccer kicking" it across the body. Interestingly, the standing leg and the rotator muscle inside the glute started to ache, it felt like rubber bands stretching.  Yikes, not easy to complete the three sets of eight.

Then went to the floor with legs hooked over the bar like a trapeze, and we were to lift from the lower abdominals. It’s easier to feel using the springboard bar. IE was able to transfer this feeling of "separating" from the hip flexors and lifting over the bottom ribs much better when we did the "hundreds" the classic Pilates mat exercise: 

pilates photo: PILATES 7 PILATES7.jpg

The arm exercises were challenging because IE has a lot of strength and not as much flexibility. It was difficult to stay engaged at the core and not allow the ribs to flare.

pilates photo: Pilates _72U9081.jpg

Like the video below after about 10 classes IE was getting the hang of using her body more efficiently and with some precision. The challenge is to work deeper and smarter: to think about what you are doing as you are doing it. Not glamorous, but essential. 

In dancing we call these moments, "movement revelations"-- the times when what you have been hearing forever, suddenly becomes clear in your body. Something changes in your body and  mind: a shift that propels you in another direction.


Here's to discovery!

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