Tutorial #2968

Am I Doing It Right?

25 min - Tutorial


It is common to ask, "am I doing this right?" when you are practicing Pilates at home. In this tutorial, Brent Anderson offers suggestions you can use to increase your awareness so you can move with efficiency. If we notice how things change and understand that there is no right or wrong to movement, we will be able to optimize our online practice.
What You'll Need: No props needed

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Mar 12, 2017
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So the second tip of how we can optimize our online experience is understanding a really cool thing. And that is that there is no right or wrong to movement. I think sometimes we get so caught up in, am I doing it right? Am I doing it right? Am I doing it wrong? If you're a negative, you're pessimist. You know, some people that are always asking if they're doing it wrong, um, the reality is is we could be doing it less efficient or more efficient. Right? Movement is about efficiency. One of the things we look at, one of Joe's ultimate goals was that we would be able to perform our mini very daily tasks naturally and spontaneously with vigor and zest.

And so the question that I always ask myself as I'm moving is, is, am I trying to move more efficiently? And I think I go back again to sort of the way we were brainwashed in the fitness world. And it's sort of like, I want to do a Max voluntary contraction. I want to do, take the movement to exhaustion. I want to do more than anybody else did. And I think that there's a place for that.

There's some people who love that and that's fine. That's part of their torture here on earth. But the reality is, is we want to be able to do more and more challenging things more efficiently. So if you think of running right, and I know Juliana is a big runner, you don't want to run as hard as you can and, and use all your muscles and be tense while you're running to have an optimal workout. Running, running is about being as efficient as you can and being able to use the tools to be able to minimize things like ground reaction, force and stress and keep your heart rate as controlled as you can so that you have in endurance and energy from it. And likewise, many parts of our life are that way. Um, you know, can we go about our daily activities, raising our children in our families and our home and have the energy that we need to be able to fulfill all of those requirements of life these days. So the first thing is that there's no right or wrong. It's really about being less or more efficient and to understand if we're efficient. We're going to go through a couple points. The first point is, is we have to increase the awareness of ourselves.

I can't tell you how many times I've had patients that have come in who are very low on the scale of awareness. Yeah. So if I asked them, you know, are you able to feel that or what did you notice? And they're like, I don't know. I didn't feel anything. And so is that feeling like there's, they're completely numb and sometimes that numbness comes from things like abuse history or neglect history or abandonment as a child or things that somebody suffered cycles socially will have a very low awareness of their body in their mind, in space. They just don't know what they're feeling. They almost turn it off. Now, one of the things we do, employee so often as we start turning it back on, so one of the things I want you to realize why you're doing this at home is asking yourself, am I feeling what I'm doing? And maybe a better word is notice I love the word notice. Do you notice how things changed when you made that adjustment or listened to the cue from the teacher online? And when you watch us making the changes to people's bodies on screen, can you imagine the feeling while you're doing that movement at home as to whether you feel or notice the same change that the person in the film felt or observed? Um, I think of questions like, am I increasing my efficiency of the movement?

So every repetition could I do that same sequence of moves with less energy? And so while you're watching it online is could you do that same movement, that same tempo that's online? Could you do it with half as much energy? And we get to a point where we can continue to do half, half, half. Then all of a sudden we can't do the exercise. We realize we're getting close to that efficiency zone of where we can do the movement in, minimize the energy expenditure, but still have a successful movement experience.

And what happens in that moment when we are playing with efficiency and awareness of efficiency is that we increase the quality of the movement because quality is based on efficiency and flow. So when we look at a beautiful mover in Cirque de Solei or in a dance performance and and or an athlete moving, it's like what we see is efficiency. They have figured it out how to eliminate every unneeded tone or muscle contraction to deliver pure movement in its purest form and be almost distracting in the sense of going like how did they move that fluidly? How were they able to transfer their body through space? It looked like there was no joints or bones, it was flowing.

How do they do that? And that's really sort of, to me, the ultimate movement experiences. Having that, it also is about increasing the spontaneous potential to move and that's a lot of words, but spontaneous potential. What I mean by that is as we practice things and that's important, it's like you can't just take one class and take that class only one time and expect that you're going to be proficient in that class or that you're going to have a spontaneous moment in that class. What happens is you might take that same class. I've had some people tell me that they've taken one or two of my classes on Pleiades anytime a hundred times and I don't know if they've done it a hundred times, but even if they did it 10 times or 15 times, we start to anticipate the experience and you know when you anticipate the experience because of repetition, you can start programming your body to organize itself appropriately cause you know it's coming in a novice class it's often not so easy. The new class you're taking, you're learning new things, new instructions, new teachers, new exercises, new interpretations, but as you take them over and over again, this is why one of my key points to you is take the classes online over and over again. Don't just take them once.

Take the same class on Tuesdays nights every week on Tuesday nights. Take the same class on a Wednesday night every Wednesday night for a number of weeks and get to the point that you become very efficient and proficient in that movement that it now becomes spontaneous. And listen to the queuing of the instructor when they structure uses something like in preparation for this exercise, you already know what the preparation is going to be and your body's allowed to do that, that spontaneous potential. It's already preparing itself to move. And that's where we look at something as fundamental as walking.

We don't necessarily think about how we walk because we've been walking our whole life. Uh, and so the idea though is all of a sudden now we bring attention back to our walk. You know, we go, is my walking different if I pay attention to my body in space and do I have a different potential, a movement efficiency moving from point a to point B? And that's really the questions that I want you asking yourself as you go through. So we've said, one, we're going to increase our awareness. Number two are going to increase our efficiency or ask ourself if we're doing that. Number three is increasing that spontaneous component by repetition to be able to follow the movement. Another really important one is awareness of connection and I think this is very interesting because a lot of times we walk around and don't realize that we're disconnected.

If you've ever been a fan of like Picasso's Work and the Artists Picasso and you see how he sort of taken the body and disconnected it and reorganized it and put a breast over here and a leg coming out of her head and an ear over here and sort of shifting things around and that abstract representation always makes me think that we're all like that. We all in this world, we all have this disconnection and disorganization and one of the things we want to do is we want to start sort of putting the puzzle back together again and going, oh, this is my hand. This is my wrist, this is my arm, this is my hand, wrist in arm with weight in it. This is the connection I feel between the arm into the shoulder, the connection between the shoulder blade to my ribs and my ribs to my spine. And the way that it envelops my heart in my lungs, the way that my digestive track goes down just the same way as my spine. And so when I articulate my spine, I can have an awareness of articulating my digestive system or my circulatory system or my nervous system.

And when we start having that awareness of the connectivity of our tissues, what we're really talking about something very dear to me is our mio fashional system. So the idea of Fascia, Fascia, connecting to everything faster, being part of everything. Fascia not only goes into connect a cell, it goes in through the cell wall and connects into the nuclei of the cell and its tubules are filled with light. The smallest particle we know of called a photon. So these trillions and trillions of photons flowing through our body that are trying to communicate, they're trying to connect. And one of the things that we feel after we do apply these class, we stand up and go, wow, I feel lighter.

I feel like my body's connected. I feel energy flowing, I feel taller, I feel more space around me. And this is the awareness of connection. And when we ask ourselves and you listen to the teachers, great teachers talking about connecting the rib cage to the pelvis, or remember your head is part of your spine. Or remember how your legs come down as a continuation of the pelvis and thinking of that connection not just from bones and muscles, but also from energy thinking of do you feel the ci or the flow of energy through your body after you're taking a class and these are the questions again, ask yourself and just be appreciative of the fact that you do feel it. You don't have to be the scientist that defines it or describes it.

Just accept the fact that you're feeling it and that you're feeling connected. And anytime that we feel connected, we are more likely psycho, socially and spiritually to make better decisions in our life. We're better equipped to deal with stress. We're better equipped to make good relationships and avoid negative relationships and these are the essence of happiness. That's what I'm saying is if we really take advantage of what we're learning through our movement, we're going to get the ultimate outcome of it, which is going to be the happiness of making good decisions and being prepared to deal with the challenges that we have in our life.

Then this connection that leads me to is the one between mind and body and a lot of times we try to separate this. A lot of people are afraid to connect the mind to the body and it's impossible to do that. All we can do is basically shut ourselves down and if we shut our body down, we shut our mind down. If we shut our mind down, we shut our body down. You can't separate them. They're connected and so as you go through the process, sometimes the exercises are more challenging mentally than they are physically.

So I get this question all the time or I get this comment, a plot is too boring for me. Yoga is too boring for me. It's not hard enough or rigorous enough for me. And I pull him back and I say, let's ask this in a different way. Let's pre-frame it in a different way. Granted, an introductory pilates mat class is probably going to be pretty simple for somebody that far as the physical energy demand of an athlete, right? But what we're asking is we want you to have that demand on your mind.

And one of the things that pull PyLadies these is that we have a strong, healthy body and a mind fully capable of reaching its potential. It doesn't say a body fully capable of reaching its potential. It says a mind fully capable of reaching its potential. It requires a healthy body. It requires a balance developed body. So we have to gain that.

We gained that through our movement and that movement all of a sudden turns on a switch. And there's a great quote by Michael Gerber. He says, when we have increase awareness, when we have increased understanding of ourselves, it increases our awareness of the impact our decisions have on others. And then and only then do we get a glimpse of reality. And what that means is, you know, we can, we can be self absorbed all the time of what's going on in our bodies. But the truth is, is when we increase our awareness to a high enough level of, I feel like I feel balanced. That is a very high level of awareness of our body. Michael Gerber says, when we're there, we start to realize how our actions impact others. And that's why people come back and say, oh, I'm a better mother.

I'm a better father, I'm a better employee, or I'm a better son. I'm a better person from doing plots is not because the plies exercise make you a better person. It's the awareness that makes us a better person when we connect it. So as you're going through this movement, I'm less interested in knowing if your pelvis is perfectly in neutral. What I'm more interested is, are you aware that your pelvis exists?

Are you aware that your head exists in space? And when you can connect them through the exercise of a sudden, this window's gonna open up. And these things are going to pour down with such great force of good things and clarity that you're not going to be quite sure how to receive them and that's okay, but just allow it to happen. And that is going to align our perception of self closer to reality. Remember cause remember everything that we see is merely a projection of our experiences.

We only see 4% is thought of a matter that's in front of us because that's all we make sense out of based on our experiences. As we have greater experiences in greater awareness, we see more, we hear more, we listen, more things taste better, things smell better. And we're able to have distinct sensors giving us information that our heightened awareness interprets them and we can be safer. We can make better decisions as I mentioned earlier. And that aligns itself with a reality in Polynesian islands, particularly in the Hawaiian islands, there was a um, spiritual belief called [inaudible] and who knows and believed that there was the conscious man, the subconscious man, and then the higher spirit. And so the Shaman's job, the Kahuna, you probably have heard of the Kahuna when we talk about surfing and skateboarding, but the Kahuna was the Sharman for wholism and the Sharman job was to help people align themselves with reality because they knew that the more people they had aligned to the reality, the safer the islands would be from any intruders.

So they particularly did this with a warrior. So they would tie vines on their ankles and have them jump out of trees, walk across Cole hot calls, Tattoo themselves, do different things, and they had their rituals that they would do with the intention that when the, the local mind that subconscious and conscious were aligned, that then they would have access to the great spirit and the great spirit as what would protect the island from unwanted negative spirits and intruders and enemies that would be coming to the island. And so I loved that story and this was told to one of the friars in the Catholic church back in the 1718 hundreds of how they organize themselves. I think that's sort of what we're doing. You know, we don't have proprioception is the unconscious awareness of our body. So we have all these scientific mechano receptors in our body and our skin or joints and they're always sending messages up to our back of our brain and the back of the brain is interpreting these things and going, um, you don't have to worry about it right now, but your right leg and left leg are dangling off of, applaud this table, Matt.

Matt table. Right? And if I asked myself what my legs were doing, even without looking at them, I could probably guess that they're dangling down below the table, right? I know that because there's input coming into my body. So that subconscious proprioception is always coming in. The things we hear, the noises, we often don't think about them. And a lot of times we turn people off, we turn the noises off cause we don't want to hear them right. And things we see right.

There's things we don't want to see so we just turn them off. It's like things happening but because we don't want to make sense out of them, we don't recognize them when we heighten our senses and we align that we're more likely to see reality in reality isn't always nice. I have to warn you. Reality sometimes is not really fair. I tell you a little story. Personal story of mine years ago, um, I was an avid water skier but I learned to water ski as an adult and so my buddies had this beautiful boat, this Malibu boat that was no wake, amazing. I had a high performance Conley Double boot, a water ski and my buddies were very elite skiers.

They were cutting it up and fully lay it out on the ski and pushing out and switching sides back and forth. And every time I would go out I sort of envisioned myself doing the same thing. So in my mind I saw myself really laying it down. So I decided every time I would come in, my friend John White were looking at me to go, Anderson, you suck. You are a horrible water skier.

And I thought he was trying to keep me humble because those who know me know sometimes I have a problem with my ego. And I thought my wife was just paying him to keep me under control. Yeah. They say, yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever. And he said one day John brought out a video camera and he videotaped me water skiing. And even in my mind while I was wider ski and I was coming back in and taking my ski off, I was confident that I was laying it out.

I really thought I was all the way stretched out, pushing that wig out really on the dynamic edge. And then he showed me the video and it looked like this. I was here right on my ski and it was like, but in my head I thought it was down here, right. And then over here. Right. But the reality was it was this little quick release it was going on.

And I learned a big lesson from that because what we interpret that we feel this is very important for those of us that do things privately at home in particularly things like piles. It's an awareness exercise. We probably are not doing them in their optimal way. And one of the things we have to do is every once in a while have John White bring a video camera out and video tape us. Now that's really easy to do these days because our phones and all of our, our iPads and tablets all have the ability to film us so we can tell our partner or children or something. Can you feel me doing this? That is so powerful.

You take that video and you watch yourself and you watch the instruction and you just increase that awareness a little bit and look and go, you know, I can see that my head is not in the same place that the teacher is putting that person's head in alignment for that exercise of the Swan. And so then I'm going to start increasing my awareness of where that head position is when I do that exercise. So we have some great tools that we can give feedback even from home. And if you did this once a month, it would not be too much or too little, it'd be fine. It's just to have somebody videotape you doing the exercise and do a little analysis, a little check to see is my perception aligning with what is really happening?

Sort of like my waterskiing experience. And that information is going to be very valuable to you because we call it external feedback. When we can align external feedback with internal feedback, that's when we actually have a taste of reality and that's where our goal is. So just to recap, there's no right or wrong. It's either efficient, less efficient, or more efficient and movement that we do. So we're asking ourselves, being aware of what am I feeling? What do I notice?

Am I able to do this with half as much energy as I did before? Are we able to increase that efficiency? Can we practice it often enough that we start having spontaneous response to that movement? Very important awareness of our body in space. Just recapping and do we have an idea of where our head is in relationship to our pelvis or feet and do we have the awareness of connectivity? Do we feel the connection between our feet and our knees and our hips and our body are head and shoulders trying to re align our bodies in a way that allows us to have that optimal organization and then that connection between mind body, knowing that as we increase our awareness of our bodies, we will have increased awareness of how we affect others. And when we had that, that glimpse that, that vision of that, that really helps us to align ourselves spiritually, mentally, and not just physically.

And that last one was just the idea of aligning our perception reality. Get the video camera out the camera, take a video of yourself and analyze it in comparison to the video that you're looking at online and see how you're doing and give yourself measures and it's really trying to align that reality and perception with each other. These are a couple of tips on how to improve your experience in applies anytime online format and to make sure that you're getting the most out of it that you can get out of it. My name is Dr. Brian Anderson, and we'll see you in the next tip.

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Pilates at Home: Optimize Your Online Experience


3 people like this.
That was great! Loved hearing about the mind-body connection because to me that is key. I have a client who just cannot "connect" and I do believe she has suffered some abuse in the past. My goal is to practice the online classes more than once. It's so hard because there are so many good ones!
1 person likes this.
You're amazing!! Thank You so much!!
Profound! You are truly enlightened. Thank you for the inspiration.
Thank you! I love the idea with the camera!
Watching yourself on video is a big reality check!! =)
I catch myself all the time on video and see where I need to make additional corrections with alignment and carriage. Let's keep refining our awareness. Successful Movement Experiences without pain
Michael Mary S
Loved how you stressed the importance of repetition so your body can begin to anticipate the movement.
Silvie S
I also love the mind connection and can't agree more that is the key to efficiency of anything 👌Thank you for putting it out there in terms of meditation and that is the one of the most oldest systems we some times forgetting to add to our lives as it is the big part of our lives and how we present ourselves . Thank you
thank you Brent. This is perfect advice for me right now. Wish I could share it with my students!
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