Corps Esprit Ame

Today’s post features a client of mine from France, Celiane, and the title is Body, Mind, Soul (pardon any improper French grammar). Celiane began doing Pilates when her personal trainer was out for a few weeks having surgery but had done Pilates previously. I’ve had the pleasure of teaching Celiane at the Wisconsin Athletic Club and while teaching Pilates in an athletic club can be different from a Pilates studio, Celiane is a wonderful student of Pilates and her story encapsulates the spirit of the practice.

In the loud gym where the grunts mark the beat of the music, there is a quiet place. No music, no moans and groans, just the quiet voice of the instructor. One has entered a different place. The session starts with simple exercises: one has to concentrate on one’s breathing. One’s focus is on what goes on inside the body. No outside distraction such as wondering about the number of minutes spent running a mile, or the number of pounds being lifted: the aim is to pay great attention to the movements of one’s body. Yes, it is important not to move one’s shoulders as one is turning one’s arm. One has to learn to differentiate the different parts of the body. Every muscle will be worked in its own time. Sometimes, I will feel a tension, the instructor instantly modifies the exercise with a slight change for instance the hands will not grip the handles but hold instead some little balls. If I relate the slightest discomfort, the teacher is immediately interested: she is learning something about how my body reacts to an exercise and what is going on. If I mention a difficulty I have in daily life, she will nod and a little while later I will have to do an exercise which will help me to deal with the difficulty I alluded to. I am learning so much about how my body functions: it empowers me. I really feel so thankful to my teacher.”

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