Tutorial #1969

Using Sound Tutorial

20 min - Tutorial


Blossom Leilani Crawford teaches this tutorial to demonstrate how sound (vocalizing) is a useful tool to get deeper into the Pilates exercises. She includes fun anecdotes about the time she spent with her mentor, Kathy Grant, from whom she learned these exercises. You'll explore Short Order Cook, Hissing Cat, Mary, My Name Is, Whistling Sand Tunnel, Monkey With No Springs, and more.
What You'll Need: Mat, Tower, Mixed Equipment, Towel

About This Video

(Pace N/A)
Jan 02, 2015
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Hello, I'm blossom. Laelani Crawford. I brought this in just for you. Um, I'm here to talk about Cathy Grant and um, some of her work that we used to do together at NYU. Um, and I'm specifically gonna get together all of the stuff that she used to use sound with because in her before the hundreds work and a lot of her work, she would make us vocalize and make sounds, which is quirky and just the way she did it was also a little different when I think about this element of Kathy's personality and her work, I think about how she used to call herself, especially in this class at NYU, which is only 45 minutes that she was a short order cook and we had to get results quickly with a lot of people with a lot of, from a lot of different backgrounds. So I'm here to share some of that with you. Um, and just as a little background, I assisted Kathy at NYU for 10 years. I took, I was also her student for three years before that. And so this comes from a lot of time together. So let's start. So the first thing we're going to do is the hissing cat.

And so I'm going to just start showing you some of these movements that we do and I'll talk about maybe why she did them and what was happening. What I do want to be clear, Kathy would never, if I said, Kathy, why do I, why in the hissing cat do I hiss? She wouldn't always answer my question. And it took just years of me going like, oh, I think I finally figured it out. And then I'd go back to her and go, do you do this because of x, Y, z? And she'd go, yeah, of course. Sometimes Kathy wouldn't give you the answer because she wanted you to think for yourself and or just, she just really wanted you to listen to the cue, do the thing, and feel it. Not have to explain like this happens because of x, y, z. And sometimes I think she just did it intuitively. So here we go. The hissing cat, the hissing cat starts with a, it's fine.

And you reverse your lower spine. And when you get to your bra strap, she would say, or in the middle of your back, you would hiss to lift your head up. [inaudible] sure, sure. I'm gonna do it one more time. Just take a peak, start to reverse your spine. When I get to my middle back and I'm trying to take my time, I hiss [inaudible] so now let's break it down just a little bit. So when I come up with a rounded spine, yes, I'm using my abs. Yes, I'm pulled up. And when you work with dancers, young dancers, and you tell them to reverse their spine, they do this and they do it all in one piece. And so if you say, when you get to the middle of your back hiss, it takes me time to hiss.

Sure. And then the, going back to you, they'd be an angry cat and you use the, his too open the back, spread the hips, get the stretch. Shh. So she would use the sound to sort of pull or juice more out of that spine and get more out of that body. So let's move on and try to, I'm going to show you another one. Kathy always used a towel in her math class so I can't help it sometimes, but do these head lifts with a towel. Only her towels though. Cause if you brought in your own towel, she did not like that. She'd say, I don't know where that tells been. Don't ask. Here we go. So then, uh, another one of her headless was called Mary and she would just stand there and she'd say, Mary. And we all knew Mary had a little lamb whose police was white as snow and everywhere that Mary went, her lamb was sure to go.

I looked like an insane person. Right. But check it out. Inhale. If I have to stay up here and tell you the whole nursery rhyme, what am I doing? I'm breathing, I'm staying. You kind of get out of your head about, Oh my God, I'm here for so long. And then you just slide out. She would just trick you. And also Mary is much easier to say than head lift. You know, she had trouble breathing sometimes and as she got older she'd use just quick things and she'd just say Mary. And we'd go, oh, Mary had a little lemon slices. Why? To snow? And everywhere that Mary went, her lamb was sure to go. I mean, people really did think we were crazy, but you know, it worked. Um, let's do another one. So then she had, um, which this setup used to be, um, you would say your name and your phone number, your name and your phone number.

And so, um, but then it turned into my name is, so you would say your name, address and phone number. I should make up a different address. So here we go. Um, my name is blossom Laelani Crawford. I live at ABC Santa Claus Lane and apartment number two. I live in a men to cdot, no stone. I have a cat, two kids and a husband. Inhale, I've mentioned him. Blast, sorry honey. Inhale. And when you would come up, she'd say three and you would just know that there's a s she, she would say she would describe what that spot was and three just meant lift your head up and say three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 I'll do it again. Sometimes she'd go, Ooh, she'd want you to hug.

Mm, you're going to hear me quiver at the spa. Uh, there was my heart spot and again she chew and say three, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10. So by humming you're breathing. You're not thinking about, oh my God, here comes the hard part. When you hum and you can hear the voice, Moon Quiver, Kathy could hear it and go, Ooh, that person's having trouble. And she could sort of see what was going on without having to really look. Cause you can hear it sometimes be better than you can see it.

And then the counting on the way up, three to 10 cause most people when they come up, they just want to hoist up. But by counting three and she'd say 10 is the top. You would have to take that whole time to get up there, which is a long time. And even the way you said three, she'd say, watch it cause three the sound goes out for the sounds goes out. She'd say you have to do this. She would always make this gesture.

And so I translate that to counting in a circle. So when I come up, you can hear me say three I think of counting in a circle. Four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 you know it worked. If you, for some reason she just could made you believe that you could count like, like, Oh yeah, I'll count like this, whatever this meant. But she really was there with you going, no, you can't throw the sound out. And when people would come, like she'd sometimes we'd have students at NYU who are from Japan, she'd say, say it in your own language, and then it would kick in for them or say it in front, you know, whatever. She didn't care what language you use, but you just brought it in. She'd say, bring the sound in. Don't throw it out.

I just want you to sort of play around with these ideas and tools and see how she used talking to make us work harder. Maybe facilitate a movement a little bit better. So the next one I want to share with you was this one called the 10 count roll-up. So we all know the roll up, right? You start here, you roll up and you go forward. And the pitfall is always that first coming up part right here. Everyone likes a hoist pass. That was past my hard spot.

So this is how she came up with this actually. Of course, she never said I came up with this to make people strengthen. That's first part she might've said, alluded to that a little bit too. Just say, you know, count. So she'd say, bring your arms over your head and say one for your arms up to the ceiling and say to lift your head up. And here it is again. Head lifts. You just say three, three, next spot. Four five, six, seven, eight, nine ten one, two three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine ten one, two three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 and then you counsel wholly, one, two, three, four [inaudible] five six, seven, eight, nine, 10 and again, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven one. So you just kept counting and counting until your head came down. 10 count. Roll-Ups.

The last one I want to show you just in the before the a hundred series is a really silly one call. Well it has a really funny name. It's called the whistling sand tunnels. And she said, you know when you sit at the beach and you dig your heels in the sand, she recapped, he loved the ocean and she go, that's what you're doing. And you're whistling and it's a two part thing. So the dancers would come in and they, we have, you know, a lot of us would have tight hamstrings or would the, especially a young dancer, our bodies are very limber and we can kind of stretch. And so we just come in and we stretch our hamstrings and that would drive her crazy because that only lasts for so long.

I know now my twenties I didn't quite know it. Now as I'm getting close to 40 I feel it. So the instead a, so when you'd ask a dancer to stretch their Hampshire's, they just go for it. And so she was trying to find a way to get them to slow down and pull back a little bit. So she came up with the whistling sand tunnels. If you can slide on the floor, that's great. If you can't, you take your towel, you place it and you can sort of Taco. That's what I think of the food image and how you're going to tap.

You just sort of tackle your foot and make sure that this a towel is underneath your heels and you start like this and so you're just going to whistle. The hard part is actually right now, I need to come back without going backwards. She'd say, Ooh, [inaudible] ignore the rubbing sound. So let's try that again. So when you go to whistle, there's a couple of things happening. Just try it with me. Can you just sit there and whistle and try to whistle with your stomach out?

Even if you can't whistle, you're no, you know that that's not the right feeling. So now try to blow air out through pursed lips and whistle and see what your belly naturally does. Okay. Automatically brings the belly in. So often when I teach my math classes, I'll have people do something and what I want them to bring the belly in, and I'm tired of saying, pull your belly in. I say just whistle. It's a great relaxing way. Instead of thinking like, oh, I gotta get that in.

It's breathing and your stomach is going in anyway. So let's try this one more time. Taco in my feet. And so notice that what I whistle, I'm not going all the way straight right away. And then coming back, you know, always tricky. Ooh, better. I'm gonna stop there. So don't make more squeaky noises. Yeah, that's the whistling sand tunnels.

So I hopefully that you can hear and find some of these tools that you can use when you're doing Claudia's, when you're teaching plots and you're having that moment of like, oh, I just need to, I just feeling a little tension. I need to bring my belly in, or what can I do here? It's a great place to sort of pull from making sounds. So you can just see if you can find, get that little extra belly or that little extra relaxation or maybe stay in that spot and get people and trick people sometimes into staying in a spot or strengthening without actually having to say, now hold it. Breathe and said, you can say, tell me, you know, sing twinkle, twinkle little star yet people are going to love you. It's going to be great. So, um, now let's take these principles that we've learned from these sounds and take it into, um, another exercise that Kathy created called the monkey with no springs. So here we are. We're going to do Kathy's monkey with no springs. Um, I love the story that comes along with the monkey with no springs. It started for Kathy when she taught at the Henri Bendel studio in New York City. And it was the 70s and the time of women's Lib and women were coming in to workout and they were getting on our machines and pushing really hard and being really like aggressive. And Kathy did not like that.

She wanted people to sort of drop in, calm down and have an hour for themselves. And she's probably more than an hour. So, um, she wanted an exercise that would sort of calm them down, get them in their body, but that wasn't something that she had because she taught, sent me private, she didn't teach private, so she came up with monkey with no springs. So let's check this out. So I'm going to have Julie do it, I Julie, and then we'll talk about the setup of it. So you have the push through bar without springs, thus monkey with no springs and you gonna put your hands on the outside of the bar. Yup. And the feet go on the foot bar. I'm being very general, I'm not telling you what position, but just put the feet on the foot bar. And then I remember once doing this or maybe the first time Kathy taught this to me and I said, so now what? And she goes, the bar only moves in one direction.

So I mean that's Kinda like you put your hands there, your feet and then yeah, the Huh. And then she's going to start to roll back when you're ready. So remember the whistling San Tunnel. Sometimes I use that whistle, that idea of zipping right here as you continue to roll back and go up to the ceiling because the bar only moves up and down, right? That's all it does. And she's breathing and enjoying herself. She's smiling and go down and through. So unfortunately that was, but that's not what I'm looking for. So she's going to stay there. And you're going to actually, um, now let's talk about this.

So take a peek at the foot bar here or the push through bar. Kathy would say, I only want it to be four fingers away from the back edge. So if you could look at it, you really just want it to be, um, about four fingers away. So ideally Julie would actually walk her bomb back toward me. Yes, because that's what the, you found it was lovely and very easy and ease is kinda not what I'm looking for. So here we go, cause she goes forward. [inaudible] and Julie, I want you to add a little point in flex in there. So I'm going to add a little something. So as she points in flexes. Yes, that looks good. But I can see she's doing something with her knee.

She's locking in those knees. No, no, no. And she's so, she's not going to over bend. And so now she's gonna Point the feet and then she's gonna flex. Exhale. Think of that whistling. Yes, thank you. Inhale again and exhale this here, this, and when I say this, it's the zip. It's the whistling with that. Say, Oh, here we are. Perfect. So just kind of stuck. Keep going. Can you, can you bring that up?

So she has to find her tummy. I have my hand here because she wants to throw her head back. Woo. That was exactly it. That's all it is. [inaudible] stay here. You could even add a little look up toward the ceiling. Pull on those arms and lengthen that sign. Oh, that's nice. So Julie, when you go to bring the bar down in through, it's not the knees, not the ankle, it's the thank you. Love. Find those now right here.

Shoulders down. Oh, go forward. Yeah, that's it. And one more time with a little momentum if you don't mind. And then I'd like to show this to you with, yeah, there that's a no, no, no. Don't you throw your head back. Don't you do it? Curl that belly. Yes. Yeah, that's exactly it. And breathe. And I w she's working hard, but you need to see that cause that's really what it's about. If you don't want the easy up and down, you want those sort of work of it.

I think sometimes when people go, oh, it's hard to go perfect. That's the right spot down in through love and that's all it is. And Bree, excellent. So now I'd like to show you, um, a man doing it just so you can sort of see how it's a little different and can shift around a bit. So this is Jim. Only j people are demonstrating today. Yeah, that's it. So that's what I love about Jim. He measures himself, saw how he did that. You'll come up with your own method. So I'm Jim's saying there, let's right away. Do Point and flex. And so what I also love about this is that when you're pointing and flexing, I can make my client look at their knees. Now let's add some breadth in there.

So inhale point those feet. Jim, when you exhale, I want you to whistle. He's whistling. You just can't hear him. Oh, it's a sad little whistle. A couple more. That's better. One more. And you are going to whistle from and you can so they can see their knees.

If their knees are dropping to the floor, then you know that they're hyperextending. When I would do that, Kathy would come by and give me a little snack. Any snack. Yeah, here we go. So that spot zip to roll. Catholic come around and she'd just give me a little, I call this the floppy hand slap. Yeah, yeah, yeah. There you go. Breathe and go down and through. And you know sometimes too when people would put too much tension in it, she'd go, what are you doing? There's no springs. Why are you working so hard?

Yes. And down and through. And so you have to find your spots. So that seems to be a pretty nice spot for, let's mess around with it. Play around when you try this. Walk your bomb back a little bit. Yeah. Let's, yeah, no that's good. Let's see what happens. I don't know what's going to happen either. So for my friend here, yeah, he doesn't need this. It's coming from here. That's right. Take your time. Specially. Here's a spot. Ankles, ankles, ankles, ankles, ankles, deep curl.

Internal curl of the belly. It's so evil. I'm so happy cause he's so sad. Yeah. So then he stuck. So I let people go forward again and find a little momentum cause you just end, cause you know there's no, he just has to fill there. It is a little bit here. Well that's a lot of it. What do you say one more? Yep. Just for perfection sake. Yeah. But Jim, now when you go to bed, it's not knees, it's not ankles. It's what? Thank you. [inaudible] and that's what I just did to gym there where I asked him a question but didn't tell him the answer is a really Kathy like thing to do. She'd say what, uh, what, what are you doing? Where's that coming from?

She wouldn't tell you the answer. She just sort of leave that question and walk away. But that's a, you know, it's, it's an interesting way that she would work where she would just sort of ask you an open ended question and sort of go, so I'll be right back. And you know, and because you had to sort of think about it yourself or figure it out. And then maybe, I mean, maybe you could ask her why, but we didn't really ask why a lot. I, one of my favorite stories is this guy who, um, I've now teach, he was really funny, he said that once he went to Cathy and he was in some like squat against the wall and he is, she's punching him in the stomach going, you're using your stomach muscles. And he, he was sort of like, does that mean I'm supposed to use my stomach muscles? Does that mean I'm not supposed to use my stomach muscles? But it was so freaked out. You didn't, you didn't ask the question of why you're, what you just kept, you just sort of hope that at some point you go, you'd go, oh, it's this because she was very scary but very wonderful and loving in another way.

But she used the scare tactic a lot because she was really trying to change bodies and for her that was what she often did. But um, I hope you have fun with some of those. Play around. See if you can just get someone to count in at a certain place or hum when they're, when you can see them really tensing up, say just home and you'll be amazed at how they can just relax a little bit. Just play around cause it's really, they're really fun tools to use while you teach or when you even do plotting. Thanks guys.


1 person likes this.
Positively Brilliant ~ HiYahhhh
I didn't know there was more to "my name is". really makes me work harder to add the rest because I'm not just repeating but thinking breathing :)
1 person likes this.
Thanks Blossom: since taking your workshops I have used many of these tools and they really do help, and also give the client and myself a little laugh. And when your laughing your enjoying your time. Kathy was such a clever woman.so glad you are carrying on her methods.
1 person likes this.
Love this!
1 person likes this.
Great energy and content, presented beautifully. A joy to watch! Thank you for sharing:)
Roberto Cerini
Always amazing Blossom!
1 person likes this.
Can I come to NY and study with you?!! Thanks so much for sharing more you YOU.....and Kathy! :) P.S. I have two kitties and they were going nuts while this segment was on! :) they love the whistling!
2 people like this.
She's full of fun, joy, energy, knowledge, generosity... I love her !
Thank you all for your lovely comments. I am so glad you have enjoyed this tutorial. (I am humming that last word)...
Suk W
1 person likes this.
Very inspiring and fun! I never really thought to incorporate sound and speech in classes. Thank you!
1 person likes this.
Always so inspiring, fun and so interesting! Totally addictive! Thanks so much for sharing. Hoping for more
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