Inside the Pilates Studio: Ernesto Reynoso
Haga clic aquí para la traducción en Español.
Ah what fun was had at Kathi’s Pillow Summer 2012. Ernesto Reynoso was one of the new Pilates faces I had the pleasure of meeting, although his name had been familiar to me for some time via mutual Pilates colleagues and social media. I must confess a bit of a weakness for male ballet dancers… just jealous of the vertical hops they possess…It looks so fun to be up that high. Scroll down for another “action shot” of Ernesto and see him hanging out up near the ceiling!
1. What is your favorite Pilates exercise and why?
Ernesto Reynoso: The Hundred, because it encompasses everything that Pilates is about: stamina, strength, core/”powerhouse” (see below), breathing, and focus. It works everything: the abdominals, the glutes, the arms. It is about control: controlling your breathing, controlling your movement. In the beginning, when I started the certification program, I was told that The Hundred was a warm-up exercise. But as I progress and especially after taking lessons with Kathi Ross-Nash, The Hundred has become the most challenging exercise, and it develops everything in a way I have never felt or achieved before. By the end of The Hundred, I am already sweating and everything hurts, but I see (and feel!) it all come together in this one exercise.
2. What exercise is your least favorite? Pick only one.
ER: The Tree. I am a ballet dancer, and, in an overly simplified manner, The Tree requires you to stretch your leg and pull it to your nose; for dancers, this is very easy. The Tree, however, becomes my least favorite exercise because the more you get into it, the more you have to look for the challenge. The better you perform it, the more you realize that it is not just about nose-to-knee. It is about lengthening the spine and opening the back, besides just stretching the hamstrings. Thus, in the end, it is not about how far you go but how you do it. At a basic level, it can feel great, but, as you advance, it becomes very complicated. We often lose sight of that.
3. What turns you on creatively, mentally or physically about the Pilates method?
ER: The endless possibilities of Pilates, always driven by your intuition. Romana-trained instructors use the purest and most effective method. When one approaches Pilates with an open mind, willing to learn from the great instructors, it is stunning how, at the highest levels, the approach is pure but the perspectives are fascinatingly different. In Pilates, while being true to the classical form, you still can be and do whatever you want and need, and you can be immensely creative, tapping into your intuition. We of course must follow the parameters of Joseph’s brilliant method, but implicit in his approach is the element of creativity: to break down the exercises as needed for any given client, to push a client to the ultimate, to push your own limits to go beyond your personal best, and to seek more elegant and beautiful execution.
4. What is your idea of earthly happiness?
ER: Hmmm — what is the purpose of life? Why are we doing this? Why are we getting on the Reformer every day? I think about pushing the edge and getting outside of the box, where you find even greater motivation. It is not in achieving something specific, necessarily, but, rather, it is about knowing that there is always something else, something greater that you can achieve, that there is a bigger box into which you can step. Reaching further in everything: that’s what it is all about, for me. What today is happiness, specifically, may not be happiness tomorrow, but it is all in the process of pushing forward. It is not about what you achieve, but instead it is about that to which you aspire, and the attitude and approach you use. The pursuit of happiness is a Utopian idea and perhaps does not really exist, but happiness itself is an attitude and an approach.
5. What to your mind would be the greatest misfortune?
ER: To just follow the pack, with the mind closed to all the possibilities that are outside the box and convincing oneself that this, right now, is good enough. “If this is good enough, then there is nothing left to learn.”
6. What is your favorite Pilates word?
ER: ‘More’. In Pilates, you always have people telling you, “You can do more.” You may hate it at that moment, when you are dripping with sweat and want to fall over, but in the end it is what pushes you into all of the great possibilities.
7. What is your least favorite Pilates word?
ER: ‘Powerhouse’. I am from Mexico, and Spanish is my mother tongue. ‘Powerhouse’, translated directly, is ‘the house of power’, which means nothing to me and sounds silly. Similarly, ‘core’ is pretty meaningless. CENTER makes much more sense and is, well, more powerful. We focus on the center of the body, the center of balance and gravity. I have heard from Jay Grimes that Joseph never used the word ‘powerhouse’. It was a term that arose as an easy but vague shorthand. Joseph reportedly said, ‘Do it from your guts’, which means so much more to me. Of course, I was not there to verify this. Hey, I am only 34.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
ER: Physician. Because preventing is better than fixing. If I were a physician, I would focus on general wellness issues and would tell patients, “What fits better into your busy schedule: one hour of exercise a day or 24 hours of being dead?” (Whose quote is this? I don’t know. I read it on Facebook.)
9. If Heaven exists, and by some chance when you arrive at the pearly gates Joseph Pilates is also there, what would you like to hear him say to you?
ER: “Welcome to heaven, let’s smoke a cigar and have a drink so we can talk. You did pretty well, but go back and do it better. Otherwise, go to hell.”
10. What did you learn today?
ER: The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know.