It wasn’t until after his death in 1967 that his work was called Pilates. Joseph would say that during a session the only thing you should hear is your breath. There was to be no banging of the carriage and no clanking of the springs. If you had control you wouldn’t hear anything but your breath. The springs are great feedback tools. The can show you imbalances in strength, they can give support and they provide resistance for increased strength but mostly they “show” you if you are in control. If you hear the springs smack together, you aren’t in control. If your carriage slams in, you aren’t in control. In the case of the Low Chair, if you hear the paddle slam to the floor, you didn’t have control. You have to focus on how hard to push or pull against the springs but then also work against that resistance to have control on the way back to a closed spring. You control the springs, they don’t control you.
The next time you are in your Pilates session, listen. What do you hear? How can you engage not only your tissues but your mind to stay in control of your body and therefore the springs? Think not just of the work it takes to expand the springs but to bring the coils back together slowly and with control. Pilates is a mind-body method of movement. Can you connect your mind and your body? Can you master not only your body and your mind but the equipment as well?
A couple of quotes from Joseph Pilates:
“Pilates is gaining the mastery of your mind over the complete control of your body.”
“Pilates teaches you to be in complete control of your body and not at it’s mercy.”