When I am unsure of where I should be or where I belong whether that be in life or on my Pilates mat, I find either 1 of 3 things can happen.
- I put forth too many boundaries and too much effort, making me rigid in my body and impatient in my actions. As a consequence, I leave the situation or my mat either frustrated and/or unsatisfied with my performance.
- I chose to ignore and neglect the situation at hand and do not pay attention to what I am doing in life nor on my mat. I am careless and sometimes can hurt myself and others around me simply from not being attentive.
- I choose to make a plan! I focus on the things I know and what I can do. I use this to give me leverage to face the challenge(s) at hand. If I continue to focus on the things I can do, I find, that I can more easily soften my efforts that ultimately help me navigate not only in life but also in my Pilates practice.
Below I share an example of this idea from my own life, and I also share some Pilates tips that have helped me be more aware of my boundaries when I practice to enhance my workout to the fullest and at the same time soften within.
I hope you enjoy my reflection and Pilates tips below…
My personal example I will share with you is a reflection on my own experience from moving communities/states 7 times (5 different states; WA, IA, OH, CA, UT) within 10 years (2003-2012). Through this amazing opportunity I was challenged to integrate myself into a new community knowing that my stay wouldn’t be that long. I married my husband Pontus the week before he started medical School, at Des Moines University, in Des Monies, Iowa. As a newly wed and fresh out of my masters in Teaching program at Seattle University, it was tempting not to involve myself that whole heartedly in a new community, and instead stay more to myself. I learned pretty fast that not participating in my surroundings and just doing the “status quo” was no way to live. My attitude shifted quite swiftly, and it wasn’t long, until I chose to dive right in and try my best at what I was doing. In the beginning, I taught HS french, tutored french, worked at a restaurant, worked in several boutique studios/gyms, and then eventually followed my own hearts passion to learn about the body taking classes to become a personal trainer and fitness instructor. Committing myself to teach Pilates and Yoga did not take long, as I recognized that this was someplace I belonged. Each time we moved, it definitely took a lot of courage to step out in a new environment and re-root myself in that new community, but I knew my efforts paid off, when I was accepted and felt joy within with what I was doing. As I contemplate back on that particular journey I see a reciprocal relationship between the effort I put out to the joy I got back. I also see a relationship between the energy behind my efforts to what I felt in return. Each time I moved to a new community/State my efforts to involve myself in the community were much clearer. I did not only have a better idea of who I was, but what I could offer. I was expanding in my understanding of myself and in my abilities as a teacher. Furthermore, every time we moved I had more insight in to what worked, what didn’t work, what I liked, what I did not want to do again, and how I wanted to live/be. I believe, for me, having the opportunities I did to start a new so many times, helped me clarify my boundaries and routines. This knowledge and awareness contributed to making my efforts less exhausting and more joyful. Now being in Seattle since 2012, although we do not plan to move states/jobs any time soon, I do try to make a conscious effort every year to be clearer with my own boundaries, so I can enjoy and soften into the opportunities that present themselves.
In the practice of Pilates, I find that when I practice with clear boundaries, I am more able to soften and expand my efforts within those boundaries. Overall, I have a much better outcome and I experience feeling of spaciousness and lightness within.
You may ask, “what are boundaries in my body exactly?” Simply put, your structure or your bones! They are the frame within which you have to work.
With the practice of Pilates, I encourage you to really pay attention to your structure. There are several boney landmarks as I am sure you know:).
Within the method, the following are the most useful to pay attention to when you are practicing:
1 – sacrum, lateral base of your pelvis.
2 – ridge of your scapula
3 – middle base of your skull
4 – “sits” bones
5 – heel bones
6 – lower tips of shoulder blades
7 – collar bone
8 – frontal hip points – ASIS and pubic bone
As you practice Pilates, consider asking yourself what boney landmarks you are experiencing as you transition in and out of your exercises. The more you practice with this awareness you can use these boundaries as leverage to help you become clearer and clearer with where you should be and what you should feel!
Focusing on your own unique structure, will provide you with information and feedback when you integrate them with full awareness in your actions. You will learn quickly what step to take next. Instead of being unsure if you are in the right position, you will know your framework and be able to fully expand greater into yourself by using your muscles to support your structure as you move without tensing.
I hope this season inspires you look inside, and see what matters to you! Having your own truth as your platform, I hope, will encourage you to deepen and expand not only your perspective, but your understanding of yourself and the others around you as well. Always come back to your own truth and let that knowledge present you with beautiful new opportunities for growth and self discovery in 2020.