“Blessed are the flexible for they shall not get bent out of shape.”
Flexible is defined as “capable of bending easily without breaking, and (of a person) ready and able to change so as to adapt to different circumstances.”
The above quote is from Buck, one of my favorite documentary films which isn’t about Pilates at all but still spoke volumes to me about the relationship between Pilates and life.
Kathy Grant stated that Pilates is “for the unexpected.” As an 84 year-old woman with decades of Pilates under her belt she was able to avoid serious injury after a fall on a New York City subway platform. It was her Pilates training that enabled her to “bend easily without breaking” and “adapt to different circumstances.” Read Kathy’s full answer to the question “What is Pilates for?” here.
Often when one thinks of flexibility it’s hard to think beyond the stretch of the back of the legs, the hamstrings. However, in a broader sense flexibility gives one resilience and recovery. It is flexibility that allows one to be spontaneous and therefore vibrant and alive. Charles Darwin speaks of “survival of the fittest” and “adapt or perish” in his landmark book, The Origin of Species.” In business “adapt or perish” is a tenet for longterm success. In Pilates, while uber-flexibility or hypermobility lies at the far end of the spectrum, balanced and true flexibility equals strength, meaning everything works.
Last week my client Lorin paid me one of the highest compliments I could receive as a teacher – a teacher of anything really. We were working on the Boomerang on the mat. I suggested that she could get more out of the reach of the arms as they make their way around to the feet.
“There is a nice moment there that you are missing.” I said, pointing up how much more reach and therefore range of motion she could mine out of the exercise.
She looked up and told me that this particular correction could speak about the bigger picture: Life. Work. Love.
Wow! Thanks Lorin!
And what is Pilates without those three magic ingredients? So there you have it: Life speaks to Pilates and Pilates returns to life! Oh you saw that one comin’ din’cha?