As a Pilates student and also an Instructor – it is easy to crave new things. New knowledge, new movements, new understanding. We believe we grow with this gaining of more and new. And we do! But we can also grow by focusing deeper on what we have.
I was watching the television show Elementary, a detective type show the other day. The main character and detective made the comment that most miss what is right in front on them because they fail to look closely and pay attention to the details. I think the same can be said for our Pilates work. Sometimes we focus on the big picture – weight loss, a regular routine, X number of workouts a week or a flat stomach. With this big picture focus we may miss, the finer details and outcomes of our work.
I have had students tell me that they have realized their posture has improved or they have felt more flexible in the morning or their recovery from other endeavors was quicker. These were not the obvious outcomes they were initially seeking but the smaller details – the finer points. Pilates has a way of impacting our bodies in many facets.
We can aid ourselves in finding those small details when we really focus on what we are doing. How are our muscles working together? I try to cue you with hints as to how you may be feeling the work. You, too, should reflect a little and think about what you are feeling, where is the work taking place, and notice the details.
My Pilates classes often begin with double leg work on the foot bar. While we call it double leg work, this is a bit of misnomer. So much more is taking place then leg work. Our core is warming up and engaging with each movement. Our diaphragm and intercostal muscles are at work to assist with breathing and expanding/contracting the ribcage. Muscles in our pelvis are working to hold our position. Our fascia, the magnificent web of connective tissue, may be alerting us to tension in one area of our body.
When we take the time and allow ourselves to notice the details, examine the work much like a detective – we are able to work even deeper. We are able to advance our progress and expand our results by fine tuning. Every old movement becomes new to us as we experience it fully and possibly in new ways each time.
While it is wonderful to continue to grow and learn new things, I believe it also so important to master the fine points, too. This week my challenge to you is to work deeper. Be a little introspective, slow down and see how you feel the work. Workout like a detective. See if you can make a seemingly simple exercise more challenging just be fine tuning and really engaging those muscles! I bet you can!