Feeling Rigid? Be Water My Friend.
WHAT EXACTLY SHOULD MY MOVEMENT PRACTICE LOOK LIKE?
I'm not a fan of rigidity in any aspect of life, especially with regards to my teaching or my Pilates practice.
I like to stay open to the idea of something new or a different way of doing things.
I question things, I like to break down ideas and take a good hard look at the parts I'm left with.
-why are we doing this?
-what is it for?
-does it make any sense?
-is there a better way?
NOTHING & NOBODY'S PERFECT
From a teacher's perspective, I'd ask (and I'd go as far as saying this is applicable to ANY and ALL movement disciplines)....
If we don't acknowledge and explore the flaws of our choice of practice/movement discipline can it be fully understood and utilised?
And a more difficult question to ponder...
What does it mean If you think your movement discipline is without flaws?
If you don't want to consider the idea that your movement discipline has flaws, maybe ask yourself why.
Awareness of flaws and a questioning curiosity allows us to make informed choices about how to react, what to do about the flaws, and whether they are good or bad for us as individuals.
Courses and training in all movement disciplines is often delivered as...
'this is how we do it, don't question, just do it'.
...but if you have taken your education to a higher level elsewhere e.g any subject at University you would have noticed you were encouraged to be more analytical, evaluating, and questioning.
It's a healthy approach to any philosophy or dogma we encounter in life.
...but people don't much like to be questioned.
It tends to bring out....
I will say though, that this is most likely a product of course or training timescales. When you are restricted to a few days/weeks/months (rather than a few years) to transfer information there isn't much time for discussion and analysis. The deeper exploration (including the negatives) then has to come afterwards motivated and instigated by the individual's own curiosity.
EMBRACE THE FLAWS
I think it's a healthy approach to embrace the flaws.
....and then bear in mind, sometimes flaws can be fun, and sometimes the flaws in something (or even someone) are the bits you like the best, but....
....they can also be the bits that get you in to trouble, lead you down the wrong path or negatively impact your health and well being.
Quick detour on a Japanese Tangent...
Everything is flawed, and we might as well embrace the reality of this rather than resist it. Perhaps take inspiration from the Japanese philosophy of Wabi-Sabi, the act of embracing the flawed or the imperfect.
CREATE SOMETHING NEW
You may also be familiar with the Japanese art of Kintsugi; mending together broken pottery, while beautifully highlighting, rather than hiding, the cracks.
By altering the broken parts we end up with something not only functional, but more interesting and beautiful than what we started with.
ARE YOU SURE YOU'RE SURE ABOUT WHAT YOU'RE SURE ABOUT?
let's see what Donald Rumsfeld has to say...
- Stuff you know.
- Stuff you know you don't know.
and then the biggie
- Stuff you don't know, you don't know.
Sometimes when we are confident about sticking to one rigid way of thinking we are sitting in the 'Stuff we know' space, and this is quite a small pen to put yourself in.
There is a whole world of stuff 'you don't know you don't know' out there.
Personally, I find myself pondering the thought of all the stuff 'I don't know, I don't know' quite a lot, and the more I add to the 'stuff I know', the bigger this other category seems to grow.
STILL WITH ME?
My own practice is built from reacting to the moment, listening to my body, and acknowledging all the myriad of things around me that can affect me on a given day.
I notice how I change depending on the day of the week, the time of day, the seasons, the outdoor air temperature, the light levels, my own hormonal cycle.
I definitely don't just have one way of practicing Pilates that I follow regardless.
Sometimes I'll arrive at the studio with Classical Reformer repertoire on my mind. That's my mind's plan. I'm going to work hard, focus, and transition and flow my way to a Pilates High 5......but, then I get started and my body informs my session otherwise. A few exercises in, I get up and before I know it I'm doing something completely different that involves some super super super slow thing on the Cadillac where time and the body melts away and It seems to me that I'm just a brain and a shoulder joint... or whatever.
My workout can be anything. I don't have to have a plan, and everything doesn't have to go to plan,
SO WHATS MY POINT?
I don't have one.
no plan....and no point either.
I'm just rambling.
...but I won't. Instead, I'll leave you with this.
I'm not a fan of rigidity.
What I am a fan of is Bruce Lee quotes....
Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it.
If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.
Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water.
Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup;
You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot.
Now water can flow, or creep, or drip or crash.
Be water, my friend
To bring the quote to life I recommend watching the man himself....