What's Old is New ... Again.
Something to think about ...
You don't have to update your Pilates teaching technique (or whichever methodology you teach), but maybe a re-vamp concerning how you think about what you're teaching/learning is in order?
The current trend in movement is actually a very old trend - natural / practical / functional / primal movement (whatever like adjective you wanna throw in front of it works just as well). Do a quick Google search of "1800's / 1900's Gymnasium" (go ahead, we'll be here when ya' get back). Looks pretty similar to all the new gym stuff going on, right? Or at least, if you're a mover, what you'd wish would appear at the neighborhood gym. How about even further back than that? Greco-Roman movements? Hunter-Gather movements? Paleolithic movements? Did they exercise? What is exercise?
We could spend chapters and hours discussing how World War II and Vietnam effected our relationship with movement ... how capitalism and corporate gyms shifted that relationship further ... and images of Golden Era (1970's-80's) bodybuilders and aerobics models solidified our desire for aesthetics over function, but what I think is more important is that we just got lazy, sedentary, and isolated. Our professional goals drastically altered from outside to inside jobs (white collar is better than blue collar), desks over landscape, meals went from home-cooked to microwaved, television inspired us to adjust family time, and all the while we got further and further away from our relationship with self and nature. Now we conveniently pop into Chipotle for a healthy meal so we don't have to interrupt our Snapchats and YouTube time (aren't those drone videos of nature beautiful???).
Movement was always about cooperation. We'd have to work together to bring down the hunt. We'd forage together. We'd build shelter together. We'd farm alongside one another. We'd build in factories together. We'd play together. When was the last time you played with someone? Sounds silly, right? Isn't that what a sport is? When did we switch from cooperation to competition? How has competition isolated you from your peers and your own bio-intelligence? How is that reflected in your relationship with your body ... which is really your relationship with movement ... or how you might know it, exercise.
So, what is exercise? In my brain I think of exercise as all that physical stimulus we have to now create to satiate our body's need for movement because we no longer move readily. We don't hunt, build, forage, or play. We don't utilize our body in the way our ancestors have for hundreds ... thousands ... millions of years. The crazy thing is that this under-utilization (appreciation) has grown exponentially in the last 20, maybe 30, years. Yet we still have the same physiologic needs for movement. If you're eating you still need to burn off those calories. Your joints need to bend and stretch to help pump blood and lymph. Muscles need to be taught to contract and relax in order to feel good. Your heart rate needs to increase to properly stress your heart muscle ... and so on ... and so on. Your body is designed to move. So now we have to "exercise" to move. Think about it, somewhere in a remote village someone is spending 4, 8, 10+ hours a day working, collecting, and prepping, and care-taking ... and they have the same body you have. (Well, their body probably looks a lot like how you wish your body looked.) Is it really too much to ask of your body to "exercise" for an hour a day? Do we really need to figure out a way to exercise less and quicker? (10 minute workout tips!!!)
So here's my long-winded point: re-think your Pilates, or Yoga, or whatever. What are you actually doing? Is Footwork just a leg-push exercise? A warm-up? A stretch? Or is it a space for you, or your client, to feel and organize, squatting and standing in a new way, with a new relationship to gravity? How can you then apply that to standing squats? Or even better how can you apply that to getting up and off the ground? Here's the deal, if we all lived in villages and still moved to survive we'd probably not need Pilates. The fact is that we're de-conditioned, and we now have to train just to move well (like literally we now have to train just to sit, stand, and walk), and if our goal is to get moving again (or better) then that's how you have to train .... not necessarily with new exercises but with new intention and awareness around the exercises. They all have the possibility of being natural / practical / functional / primal. You just have to consider what you are actually doing while you're doing what you're doing!
Here we go ...
Welcome to Movement University ... where we explore relationships and thoughts about what is movement, and how it might translate to our lives and communities? How are all these seemingly different modes of study - Pilates / Yoga / CrossFit / Dance / Calisthenics / Olympic Lifting / Aerobics / etc. actually more related than not, and how can learning about movement in a broader sense make you a better mover specifically and a better person generally. We're not learning something new necessarily, we're remembering, recalling, and exploring forgotten knowledge. We're studying how to be our true self ... again.
by James Crader