Pilates Students' Manual

Rhythm and Flow - The Six Pilates Principles

August 20, 2020 Olivia Bioni Season 1 Episode 12
Pilates Students' Manual
Rhythm and Flow - The Six Pilates Principles
Chapters
0:00
Welcome
2:03
Whole Body Movement
4:01
Balanced Muscle Development
8:21
Rhythm or Flow
15:53
Coming Up Next Week
Pilates Students' Manual
Rhythm and Flow - The Six Pilates Principles
Aug 20, 2020 Season 1 Episode 12
Olivia Bioni

Today we explore the Pilates principle of rhythm, or flow. How is it embodied in our Pilates practice, and why is it Olivia's favorite? We also look at other potential principles, and entertain the idea that there may be even more principles than meet the eye. 

Follow the podcast on Instagram @pilatesstudentsmanual and on the web here: https://bit.ly/PilatesStudentsManual for the latest! 

Email [email protected] with your feedback. 

Show Notes: 

Hear it straight from Joe's mouth in his books Your Health *https://bit.ly/YourHealthPilates* and Return to Life Through Contrology *https://bit.ly/JoeReturntoLife

Support the podcast:    


Boka toothpaste: 15% off of your first order! *http://bit.ly/bokaPTM*  


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Kencko smoothies: $10 off your first purchase of this delicious, portable smoothie subscription! *http://bit.ly/kenckoPTM

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Winc wine subscription: $22 off your first order of wine! *https://bit.ly/wincPSM

Episode Music: 

This episode uses NCS music in compliance with https://ncs.io/usage-policy

Track: Syn Cole - Gizmo [NCS Release]
Music provided by NoCopyrightSounds.
Watch: https://youtu.be/pZzSq8WfsKo
Free Download / Stream: http://ncs.io/Gizmo

Track: Syn Cole - Feel Good [NCS Release]
Music provided by NoCopyrightSounds.
Watch: https://youtu.be/q1ULJ92aldE
Free Download / Stream: http://ncs.io/feelgood

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/oliviapodcasts)

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Today we explore the Pilates principle of rhythm, or flow. How is it embodied in our Pilates practice, and why is it Olivia's favorite? We also look at other potential principles, and entertain the idea that there may be even more principles than meet the eye. 

Follow the podcast on Instagram @pilatesstudentsmanual and on the web here: https://bit.ly/PilatesStudentsManual for the latest! 

Email [email protected] with your feedback. 

Show Notes: 

Hear it straight from Joe's mouth in his books Your Health *https://bit.ly/YourHealthPilates* and Return to Life Through Contrology *https://bit.ly/JoeReturntoLife

Support the podcast:    


Boka toothpaste: 15% off of your first order! *http://bit.ly/bokaPTM*  


Fabletics activewear: Get your first two pairs of leggings for $24! *http://bit.ly/fableticsPTM*   

Kencko smoothies: $10 off your first purchase of this delicious, portable smoothie subscription! *http://bit.ly/kenckoPTM

Misfits Market: Take 25% off of your first order of organic groceries! Visit *http://bit.ly/misfitsPTM* and enter code COOKWME-QO3TQM


Package Free Shop zero waste shopping: $10 off your first order and go green! *https://bit.ly/packagePTM*  


Ritual multivitamin: $15 off your first month of minty vitamins! First 10 sign ups only! *http://bit.ly/ritualPTM


Winc wine subscription: $22 off your first order of wine! *https://bit.ly/wincPSM

Episode Music: 

This episode uses NCS music in compliance with https://ncs.io/usage-policy

Track: Syn Cole - Gizmo [NCS Release]
Music provided by NoCopyrightSounds.
Watch: https://youtu.be/pZzSq8WfsKo
Free Download / Stream: http://ncs.io/Gizmo

Track: Syn Cole - Feel Good [NCS Release]
Music provided by NoCopyrightSounds.
Watch: https://youtu.be/q1ULJ92aldE
Free Download / Stream: http://ncs.io/feelgood

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/oliviapodcasts)

[00:00:00] Welcome to Pilates Students' Manual, everything you want to know about Pilates in one place. I'm Olivia, and I'll be your host. Jump in the conversation on Instagram @pilatesstudentsmanual and be sure to subscribe for updates on new episodes. Let's learn something new together.

Hello, hello everybody. Welcome back. Today is the last episode in the series on the six Pilates principles. Today will be all about rhythm and flow. If you listened to the previous episode in the series, you know that flow has actually my favorite of all of the Pilates principles. [00:01:00] So I want to build a little bit of anticipation around it by sharing some honorable mentions into the Pilates principles.

Again, Joseph Pilates never enumerated his principles specifically. He didn't just like write out six and then tell us what they were. So all of these principles are really drawn from his works, specifically Returned to Life through Contrology, where he describes the mat exercises. Scholars and teachers and his students have all kind of made some assumptions about by looking at the things that he was most passionate about, that he talks about the most. And that's how we get the six that I've talked about in these episodes. Again, they are B triple C, P R: breathing, control, centering, concentration, precision, and rhythm. 

There are a few other possible principles. I mean, technically everything's a possible principal, right? Actually in my teacher training, I learned an additional two principles. They were whole body movement and balanced muscle development. And I do see those [00:02:00] ideas also kind of being kicked around when we're talking about Pilates principles. 

Whole body movement is the idea that every exercise is involving the entire body. We know that our muscles don't start and stop the way they show up in an anatomy textbook. Your bicep doesn't end there. It meets other muscles. It may connect to a bone, but it's not so neat. It's not so clear where things go. And then when you add connective tissue like fascia, it really is kind of a jumbled mess. 

Knowing the muscle names and knowing attachment points and insertion points is useful, but it's a very limited picture of the way our body works. If you think about when we have an injury, the fact that the muscles around the injured area pick up the slack and start to do the job of that muscle, to greater or lesser degrees of success. We know that it's not so cut and dried, especially when you look at our connective tissue, our fascia. 

It's more like our [00:03:00] entire body is like the fabric of a tee shirt. And if you pull one corner of the tee shirt, the entire fabric moves and is adjusted and adapts to that new tug. It's not so discrete. So there's this idea that when you're doing these Pilates exercises, that there's no part of the body that isn't involved, even when we're doing like an isolated movement. We're talking about the stabilizers, we're talking about a bigger picture of movement than just a bicep curl if you were like lifting weights or something like that, where we're just really focusing on the bicep. We're really trying to see the body as a full picture. 

Another honorable mention or potential principle is balanced muscle development, which if you read any of Joe's books, you will really see how adamant he is about using all of the muscles in our body. His main complaint and his main reason for starting contrology is that our regular lives do not allow us to [00:04:00] use all of our muscles. That primarily most of us exercise by walking and what we do in our jobs does not allow us to use our bodies to its full movement potential. He then says that this is the reason that we have poor posture, that we have weakness, that we have illness is because we aren't really taking care of our entire body as we are living our lives.

And what we do with our body is so limited that it's contributing to this lack of posture, lack of wellness. Pilates was designed for you to use all of your bodies, which is why we do so many weird movements. And if you think about footwork, we're doing external rotation, we're doing internal rotation and you may never do those movements like in your life. I don't spend a lot of time in internal rotation personally. I know some people do. Maybe dancers are externally rotating a lot, but I'm not. I'm pretty much like in parallel for the most part, but our hips can rotate and we want to make sure that those [00:05:00] rotators stay strong and the way they stay strong is by moving them.

So you definitely see that he is interested in balancing the body, bringing it back to like a universal level of strength. And then also balancing our imbalances that, you know, we all have a favorite arm and a favorite leg and a favorite hand. And those dominant parts of our body are unevenly developed. They're stronger than the other side or another part of the body. And how can we bring balance to that? How can we bring balance to our vanity muscles are really superficial, large muscles, like our traps, like our lats, like our, you know, our rectus abdominis. We balanced those big muscles, our quads, especially, with our stabilizer muscles, those muscles that are smaller, that you can't see in the mirror, but are really important for you to properly execute any of these big movements.

In Return to Life when he's enumerating how [00:06:00] to do the exercises, he's also very clear about not overdoing it. The goal is not to get out of balance by getting, you know, to too bulky or too built up. That he really wants everything as a whole, to be more balanced. 

Are these both principles of Pilates? I mean, I'd say they are. In his books, in his work when you're doing the exercises, as I'm just talking about them right now, you might be thinking, yeah, no, I can see that we're using the whole body for our exercises. I can see that we're working on bringing the body to balance. It seems very similar to the way I was talking about centering earlier that. It's about coming back to center, coming back to neutral by balancing just the body in its entirety. 

So you could say easily that these are principles. They are in some texts, they talk about it. In my teacher training, they talk about it. Other places will say that they're six and those are the ones that I've really explored in this series. [00:07:00] But everything's an interpretation. Maybe the principle of centering could absorb more balanced muscle development. If you talk about moving back to center, but I could also see them as their own separate games 

Bearing in mind that there are no right answers, do you see in your Pilates practice or in your Pilates adventuring, any other principles that might be not enumerated in texts, but just things that you really feel strongly about? I'm curious. I have some ideas, but yeah. Reach out on Instagram. Let's talk about the Pilates principles. 

Coming up after the break, we'll talk about the Pilates principle of the hour. It's rhythm also known as flow. I'm going to talk about why it's my favorite, why it's so important to Pilates and why I call it the cherry on top of the Pilates sundae.

Hey there. Enjoying the episode? Me [00:08:00] too. You should definitely subscribe so you get notifications about new episodes. And if you love it, maybe leave me a review. That would be awesome. Thanks for sharing the Pilates is love. Now back to the show.

The principle of rhythm and flow can really be likened to coordination in that we're talking about smooth movements in the exercises with appropriate muscle engagement. So we're not over engaging, right? All of our muscles have a dial. We can engage something a hundred percent where it's super clenched. You cannot tighten it any more than it is tightened, and 0% where it's totally relaxed and not involved at all. So when we're working with rhythm, when we're working with flow, you want to find the correct amount of engagement so that you aren't over or under engaging any part of the body in the [00:09:00] exercise.

What that creates is a movement that is smooth. It's not like shuddering or jerking. It's really flowy and smooth. You might say that there's an even speed to the movement, that if you're thinking of like feet and straps drawing leg circles, you want that circle to be smooth. That there's no part of the circle where you're drawing it faster than another part of the circle. We want to even it out. 

Within each exercise, there's a rhythm, and between exercises, there's also a rhythm. As a teacher, you may also think of flow as your class plan. How can you move the body from one position to another so that it moves really smoothly and there aren't a lot of awkward transitions that just kind of break the flow. We want to keep things moving smoothly. From piece of equipment to piece of equipment if you're in an equipment class, or just, if you're on the map from body position to body position. 

As a student, you may have noticed that flow in your classes. You may like classes that [00:10:00] have more of a flow. It may not matter to you. I'm really big on those transitions and trying to get things to kind of go as smoothly as possible. But you may also feel that rhythm inside the exercise as well. We can see in Return to Life. And when you do any of the mat exercises that each exercise has its own rhythm. The hundred has beats. There's a pulse, there's a quality to doing the hundred that is unique to the hundred, the way you're breathing, the way you're moving. 

Exercises like boomerang or rolling like a ball where you are rocking and rolling on the spine and you're in that C curve, that has a movement quality and a little bit of a tempo, a speed to it. On the long box if you're doing coordination, the fact that there is this choreography that you're pressing your arms and legs long, you're open closing the legs, knees are bending first, arms are bending second. There is a choreography. There is a rhythm to the way you execute the [00:11:00] exercise. 

The reason I call flow the cherry on top of the Pilates sundae is that you can play with that tempo, with that rhythm when you, maybe you haven't yet mastered the exercise, but you are familiar with the exercise. You are familiar with the way your body works and doesn't work and it's kind of quirks. And you can do an exercise differently and it can have a totally different experience for you by changing that rhythm and changing that flow. 

So if you take single leg circles on the mat, you can do them in infinite number of ways. You can draw your circle at the same speed throughout, the same way you might do for feet and straps, but you could also draw that circle all around and down very quickly and pause at the top. I've also done it that way, taught it that way, experienced it that way. And that's going to have a different movement quality by changing [00:12:00] that tempo. 

If you're doing upstretch series on the reformer, could you press out really slowly and then pike up really quickly? Of course. You can change the speed. If you're doing pull ups on the chair. One of my favorite ways to do it, to really key into that abdominal engagement in that floating sensation of pulling the pedal up is that I'll break that pull up into several breaths so that you're exhaling, pulling the pedal up maybe halfway and then holding it on your inhale. Exhale. Can you pull it up to the top? Inhale. Can you keep it there? You can change that rhythm and change that experience. 

In teacher training we wrote a paper about a principle that was the most important to us, or we thought mattered a lot. I mean, obviously they're all important. Just pick one and talk about it.

I chose flow because it really, for me, allows you to play within the structure of the series of exercises [00:13:00] and within just the confines of Pilates. Once you've built this foundation of centering, that you're breathing, that you're being precise and controlled in your movements, that you're concentrating on what you're doing, you can really dive deep and explore and experience new things by incorporating the sense of rhythm. You can combine exercises. You don't have to do, you know, just coordination. You can add a teaser and you can like, you can do whatever you want. You can really explore and enjoy exploring. 

As I've mentioned, you're more confident about your body, about the exercises, about how things work, you're comfortable with the equipment. So you can add these new things, these fresh things. As a student, as a teacher, you can be an artist within this, you know, canvas of Pilates. I think it's really fun. I think it's a really joyful way to do Pilates, to try new things and to keep it fresh and interesting for [00:14:00] yourself. 

It's also very challenging because when you do something the same way every time you build a muscle memory, right? And there is a part of Pilates that is like that, that we are building new movement habits so that we have this muscle memory of neutral spine of, you know, proper posture, of proper alignment. We do want to repeat those things over and over again, so that we have that framework and that muscle memory.

But when you're playing with flow, you get to challenge your brain as well as your body, because you're doing it in a different way. If you always do the hundred, five beats in five beats out, doing a different number of beats: can you inhale for two exhale for four? Can you maybe do something else with the leg legs or with the arms? Can you change your body position? Can you do the a hundred lying on your stomach? 

When you change that your brain has to make new connections. You [00:15:00] have to take the foundation that you have, that you're comfortable with and then apply it to a situation that's brand new. And that's so important for your brain to keep growing and keep active and keep building new connections.

Playing with rhythm, playing with flow is definitely something that I see as a more intermediate or advanced skill, because you do need to be very comfortable, very confident in your foundation in order to play. It's one of those things that you earn by doing the work. By building that muscle memory, by building that familiarity, you can then go beyond it or you can then explore beyond it. 

No surprises there, I absolutely love flow. It is the most fun for me to teach and the most fun thing for me to do. Do you have a favorite principle? I'd love to hear about it. Reach out on Instagram. Let's have a conversation. I love talking Pilates. Let's do it. 

Coming up next week. I have an amazing interview with Carla Shifflett, who is the owner of Posture Studio [00:16:00] in Charlottesville, Virginia, here in the U S. Also next week, I'm going to be sharing something exciting news in the season one wrap-up.So next week will be the last episodes of season one. It will not be the end of it the show. I'll just be taking a short break. So be sure to subscribe and then stay tuned for next week where I'll have some looks behind the scenes in season one and some exciting news to share for season two. 

Be sure to subscribe and follow the podcast. Take care everybody and I'll talk to you again soon.

Thanks for stopping by for today's episode of Pilates Students' Manual. Subscribe to follow the podcast and join the community of Pilates lovers on Instagram @pilatesstudentsmanual. You can [00:17:00] reach out to me there with questions, comments, or feedback, or send me an email at [email protected]

If you learned something new today, share this episode and the Pilates love. The adventure continues. Until next time.



Welcome
Whole Body Movement
Balanced Muscle Development
Rhythm or Flow
Coming Up Next Week