Why I Don't Teach Pilates

what is movement? Sep 21, 2015

For over a decade now, my students  have introduced me as "the pilates instructor who doesn't really teach pilates...." It is time to clarify what I actually do teach and gently request a title change.  I am a Movement Educator.

Instead of teaching one form of exercise (such as Pilates), I research optimal patterns for human movement. I study the body as a natural system for motion. All species (horses, dogs, cats,..) have a particular way of moving that is healthful and recognizable. However, with our modern lifestyle many people are losing proficient natural movement, struggling with posture, walking, sitting, squatting, running, jumping and turning. So much of the tightness, chronic injuries and poor muscle tone that plague us is a consequence of inefficient use of our innate design. 

Many current exercise forms are actually specialties of movement. Often they have been designed to do something highly specific, such as build extreme flexibility or excessive muscle mass. Or they draw inspiration from sports like gymnastics or ballet, where the injury rate is exceptionally high. Frequently, in an exercise class, you execute movements that you don't use for any other activity. Ab crunches, for example, may target your abdominals, but do so in an alignment not optimal for most functional movements. Lifting children, swinging a golf club or throwing a ball is not ideal and can even be harmful when performed with a rounded flexed spine. 

During what activities is it important that you move well? Gardening, walking, child-care, playing soccer? What patterns of movement are you trying to accomplish in your life? Can you squat, run, jump and turn from the positions you are exercising in? Any exercise form will improve general fitness, simply, by moving your body more than before. However, you are also designing your personal movement vocabulary. If exercise doesn't result in improvement in the practical activities of everyday life, why are we training these movements and patterns?

I believe we can increase our fitness, while expanding functional movement skills, improving our everyday lives and athletic performance. For this reason, I have moved beyond an interest or adherence to teaching any single form of exercise. Instead Movement Education encompasses all movement forms and aims to improve the function within any activity. As a Movement Educator, I work with your your deeper alignment and the specific dynamics of how you move. We begin by creating exercises that are specific to you, to improve your co­ordination, mobility and strength. Movement Education moves beyond fitness fads, disciplines and codified sports to the essentials and particularities of personal movements and our goals. It is a fundamental re­-examination of both the why and the how of movement.

Erin

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