The more you hear, the less you SEE!

I am writing to you now as a Graduate of THE WORK. I am so grateful for having been one of the few chosen to participate in this wonderful graduate program. Thank you Jay and Vintage Pilates!

I have been teaching Pilates since 2005, originally certified through a Power Pilates comprehensive training, based in New York. Since that time I have continued to deepen my study having being exposed to many different approaches and styles of the Pilates method, and also became certified with a more rehabilitative contemporary approach to Pilates with Balanced Body back in 2010. Having experienced the 2 very different approaches in addition to my own study of many other varying styles, one would think that I felt grounded in the method of Pilates, however, at times, I felt overly stimulated with too much information.

Participating in The Work, has encouraged me to take a step back, relax, and literally SEE more; see more of myself, see more of the method as a whole, and also see the person in front of me.

Let me explain. Have you ever been instructed to do something that conflicts with another person/teacher/doctor etc…? I do not know about you, but I have!:) My point is, everyone will SEE differently and possibly different things in you, and as a result, different things will be emphasized depending on who your teacher is that day. This could frustrate and confuse you if you are not aware of the “bigger picture”. Not seeing the “bigger picture” narrows your perspective and you could become “stuck” not knowing what to do, and which way to turn, as every teacher is telling you something different. OR, perhaps you will instead welcome that other perspective and approach as you know that it is just another set of eyes showing you what they see that day. Approaching things differently in my opinion is not a bad thing. However, it is necessary that the practitioner understand the bigger picture and continues to root themselves in the essence of each exercise. Too much information, with various styles and approaches, could over stimulate the practitioner and even the teacher. The more you hear the less you see!

For me, being in The Work has allowed me to re-connect to the heart of pilates and given me the tools needed to filter the feedback and instruction I have given that day, thus helping me me connect. I credit my time in The Work for building my trust and self confidence in myself to consistently SEE the bigger picture and the method as one.

Personally, the opportunity to learn and witness Jay teaching the way Joseph Pilates would have taught the exercises himself has been so wonderful because it is so straightforward and direct! There is nothing complex, no additional props, no extra modifications. YOU have an opportunity to think less, move more, SEE more, feel more, and connect fully to what you are doing.

It was a sweaty old gym, Jay said often. You did not make an appointment, you just showed up and did the work you knew how. When Joe or one of his helpers saw that you were ready to add another exercise they would, but not until you showed you were ready! The gym was not a social either, people were working out! You were taught an exercise or exercises and were supposed to remember! You would not be talked through the exercise once they were taught…. You would maybe get a poke or a push/pull sometimes but that was it! There was also no props(pillows, foam rollers etc,,). In fact, If there is one thing that Jay dis-approves of it is the use of PROPS. He says, props take away the WORK. Its not supposed to be comfortable! You need to learn and grow and comfort is not going to help you! Also if you came into the studio to work out and there was no equipment ready, Clara, Joe’s wife would point out a small wall space you could start your practice.:)

Having gone through this simple, yet very challenging program, my understanding of how the entire system works together is so much richer and deeper than it’s ever been. We were encouraged to watch and “SEE” and worry less about what we knew. The use of simple themes in the exercises was one thing that helped me connect and see the bigger picture. Some examples of themes were…seat connection, back connection, low body reach, 2 way stretch, spinal shapes. Using the ‘themes’, I could find the exercise for myself more and negotiate what feedback that was given worked for me without feeling as if I did not get it because the teacher did not approve! I had to do the work and dig deeper into myself and my own awareness to find the answers I was searching for ….I definitely understand why they named the program The Work!

The Work, cannot be compared to any other Pilates graduate program available. It is for teachers who are interested re-connecting to the heart of Pilates and who yearn to be grounded in the original work. The intense study with regular lessons, assessments, and workshops gave me just enough structure and focus to do this and more. I reconnected more to the method and I also reconnected to myself literally and figuratively. I learned less is more and also that it’s important to observe and be quiet so you can see the body and have it tell you what it needs.

Moving forward, I will practice keeping my eyes open and mouth shut (as Jay would say) and allow myself to SEE more. In my teaching, I will contemplate what your body is telling me, staying rooted to the original teachings, and I will do my best to help you experience better connections in your body. Just like in Joe’s sweaty studio…I hope to inspire you all to keep moving! Be mindful of what you do, listen and observe what your body is telling you, and I will continue to help you grow in the method and give you a little poke, push and pull when you need it! I hope I can carry the torch of Joseph Pilates on to all of you and keep his amazing authentic method alive…it’s so much more than just exercise!

Happy Thanksgiving,

I will leave you with the lyrics to this U2 song –

The more you see the less you know
The less you find out as you go
I knew much more then than I do now
Neon heart, day-glo eyes
The city lit by fireflies
They’re advertising in the skies
For people like us
And I miss you when you’re not around
I’m getting ready to leave the ground
Oh, you look so beautiful tonight
In the city of blinding lights
Don’t look before you laugh
Look ugly in a photograph
Flash bulbs, purple irises the camera can’t see
I’ve seen you walk unafraid
I’ve seen you in the clothes you’ve made
Can you see the beauty inside of me?
What happened to the beauty I had inside of me?
And I miss you when you’re not around
I’m getting ready to leave the ground
Oh, you look so beautiful tonight
In the city of blinding lights
Time, time, time
Time won’t leave me as I am
But time won’t take the boy out of this man
Oh, you look so beautiful tonight
Oh, you look so beautiful tonight
Oh, you look so beautiful tonight
Yeah, the city of blinding lights
The more you know, the less you feel
Some pray for what others steal
Blessing’s not just for the ones who kneel, luckily

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