In this day and age, humans are relying heavily and more on social media and technology to get around in their daily lives. While it has its positives, there is also a lot of natural stimulation, sensation, movement and spatial awareness being lost from sitting behind the desk and car for several hours on end. This month we take a look at how healthy animals move about throughout their day and how Pilates incorporates several of those “natural” movements in its exercise repertoire to allow for a healthier range of movement and a profound release on muscular tension.
Joseph Pilates, the founder of Pilates, was much inspired by the way animals naturally move with no pulled muscle or injuries (unless ofcourse they had to defend themselves in a fight). He went to zoos to watch animals in motion and encouraged students to observe the movement of animals which are wonderful teachers. In Joseph Pilates book, Return to Life through Contrology, he has a section where he talks about how the cat’s back muscles ripple as it stretches and relaxes itself. And about how the cat is so utterly relaxed when it sleeps. Pilates reminds us that his exercises encourage this constant stretching and relaxing. Cats move with grace and power, accomplishing what they need to do without overly-developed muscles — just as balanced and efficient muscular development is one of the priorities of the Pilates method.
“This true rhythm and control is observed both in domestic pets and wild animals – without exception.” – Joseph Pilates
Walid Tebarki, one of the Pilates instructors at The Hundred Pilates Studio, speaks out about the strong and healthy connection of Pilates movements named after an “animal” and the smart connection between their range of movements to how humans should apply in their daily lives.
“The core of the body as the center of the earth. Every thing is attracted to the center and moves without tension. Pilates Method is an evolution physical training.It is first neurogenic before myogenic. Animals are similar and that’s why Joe Pilates is using animals and kids images to bring us back to the original shape. Animals and/or Kids move effortlessly because they have the perfect balance between the inside and the outside world. It’s interesting to note that the moves of animals stimulate their fascia and they never work out by tiring one or two muscle groups as some fitness trainings do. The muscles of animals are interconnected meaning, the connective tissue is stimulated by being stretched and contracted at the same time which in return, strengthens the deep muscles.
And beyond the physical side of things, Pilates also focuses on a more holistic approach to this topic.
The Body is a place that we mostly ignore. Our own body is a landscape that is both remarkably familiar and strangely unfamiliar to us at the same time. If you are aware about the amazing world inside you. You will have the gift to change the word. This is also the power of being present in the “now”. – Walid Tebarki
So this month we ask Kara Martin – editor of Sport 360 newspaper in the UAE – to try out selected Pilates exercises that are named and inspired after animals such as cat, seal, swan, crab, elephant, monkey and frog – just to name a few – to connect with the natural movements animals go through in their daily life and talk about her experience of how she felt (body and mind) after performing those selected moves at The Hundred Pilates Studio.