Are you practicing Pilates for a while without getting the benefits you think you should be able to feel already? Were you told to start Pilates to avoid back pain, to ease your shoulder tension or improve your flexibility?
While Pilates is an excellent way of strengthening, the instructor in a group class often can’t provide the detailed instructions intended in the method (which is working one to one with a teacher, using all the equipment to gradually progress movements in a variety of ways).
In my ‘Somatic Solutions for Pilates’ workshop, you will learn easy to add gentle movements that help you progress in your Pilates class – and are an excellent stand-alone practice to improve wellbeing and mobility without stretching! As a lot of the Pilates repertoire depends on getting into correct alignment, underlying habitual tensions might be in the way to actually access the goodness that you can get from practicing the movements. Often teachers simply add passive stretching in the attempt to release tightness. Current research shows us that putting strain on the tendons and muscles (pulling on them, aka stretching) simply makes them tighter instead of longer or more pliable. So stretching has the opposite effect of what most think it does and is not suitableÂ at all to release tight muscles.
This is where Somatic Education in Thomas Hanna’s tradition is shining. We look at tensions that hold you back from achieving an effortlessly balanced posture. Without the use of any equipment (no, not even balls of various sizes!) or stretching, you can quickly find relief from previously uncontrollable muscle tightness that runs in the background like a program all the time. It’s a nervous system-based approach to movement.
Here are some examples I regularly see in a Pilates class:
The wonky shoulder bridge. One half of the pelvis ‘drags behind’ the other half when lifting. In a single leg bridge, the pelvis drops considerably to one side. The benefit of doing a shoulder bridge (articulation of the spine, strengthening of gluteal muscles and hamstrings) is diminished and imbalanced and the execution of the movement does not improve over time, as the client can’t correct what makes the movement uneven.
Torqued spinal rotations – one way it works fine, the other side feels restricted and compressed, the client it leaning to one side while rotating or compensates with movement of the pelvis, shoulders or by straining the neck.
Discomfort in the neck when lifting the head off the floor in abdominal exercises. Clients are not able to lift up sufficiently to be able to rely more on the abdominal muscles. The mid-back is ‘fighting’ with the abs.
All these issues are easily improved or fixed with Somatic Movements, often within minutes. The ‘secret’ lies in greater awareness, releasing tension that restricts the movements rather than trying harder by contracting the target muscles more. Somatic Education provides you with a framework to ease off any muscle guarding that holds you back from moving freely. Learning Somatic Movement immediately improves the way you move by working from sensation rather than outside markers.
Ready to change your practice?
Join me on September 28th from 10-12 at SOMAdublin and experience how well-balanced and pain-free movement can feel.