Understanding the parts of anatomy is important. Understanding how those parts move is also important. There have been many discussions that Joseph Pilates studied the movement of animals and took that as inspiration to create his own movements. We know that Joseph Pilates was involved in martial arts, boxing, and gymnastics. All of Pilates interests were in complete body movement.
Gymnastics was initial designed to facilitate body development. In the late 1700’s Friedrich Lugwig Jahn of Germany designed the side bar, parallel bar, balance beam and horizontal bar. He was considered the father of modern gymnastics. Its popularity rose in the 1800’s, by 1880 it had made its way to the United States mainly through immigrant Europeans. By 1896 men’s gymnastics where part of the Olympic Games with women’s gymnastics appearing in 1936. Interestingly Josephs Pilates was born in 1883, right in the eye of the gymnastic storm.
I’ve been lucky enough to study with Tom Myers, Leon Chaitow, John Sharkey and Joanne Avison who is the author of an amazing book, called Yoga Fascia anatomy and movement (it’s an extremely detailed book to read you won’t read it from cover to cover, buts it’s packed with content from how anatomy language began, how fascia is a continuous form along with the benefits of yoga and its close relationship with fascia.
Of course we as Pilates teachers are starting to become part of that story too. Pilates is but an infant born in the 1900’s to that of its ancestor, Yoga that has been around for thousands of years.
Pilates is growing up, evolving and maturing and we as Pilates teachers are part of that wave of change. Noted in the last 2years, the language of Pilates has started to soften, the original dictatorship, possible a characteristic from Joseph Pilates cultural background as a German is shifting to facilitator.
How can I teach and facilitate a person rather than instruct and tell the person what to do?
The common denominator of all martial arts, gymnastics, boxing and yoga etc.; is full body connective movement. When you study fascia, you understand that forces operated in the human body, are not linear. Which means we don’t move like a lever or a machine. John Sharkey often uses the term we are soft matter not hard matter, therefore we can’t move like hard matter, we cannot be compared to structures i.e. columns, or machines.
Graham Scarr the author of Bio tensegrity, The structural Basis of life. Says “everything has to be balanced to make it stable, there are no hi-archy in the human body “.
It’s ok to have isolated movement to use as transitions but ultimately we need continuous full evolved movement. I’ve pieced together all the information Ive learnt about fascia to connect our traditional pilates movements with our evolved mature version of Pilates. Feel free to share my Movement for life series.
Thanks for reading, learn more about my next teacher training workshops here. If you or a friend would like to hear more about next year’s event I’m organising with Anula Maiberg add your name to my mailing list here ( if you are not already on it). I spend more time moving than I do on a computer so I can promise you, you won’t be bombarded with emails when you connect!
Happy hump day, Tara x