Tutorial #480

Mind Body Connection

15 min - Tutorial
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"If we are just thinking about the mind, or we are just thinking about the body, we are dividing the work." We kept the camera rolling while Master teacher Kathy Corey responded to questions from students after class. We were fortunate to have captured Kathy discussing what the mind ~ body connection really means in Pilates, and why Pilates "is so much more than just exercise." Kathy reminds us of the body's innate wisdom and that Pilates is not just about controlling the body from the mind. She includes some historical information about Joe Pilates that is sure to inspire you to infuse spirit into your practice. Thank you Kathy for always giving!
What You'll Need: No props needed

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(Level N/A)
Aug 12, 2011
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All right, have a seat. We'll have a little discussion. So the idea for me especially was always, you know, listening to it, it's the mind itself that controls the body and it is the um, it's, it is focus, it is concentration. But that is, we've gotten so much into just focus and just concentration. We are forgetting that the body has its own wisdom. We don't tell it to walk to the door. It does it on its own. It's got a system going on that we can direct sometimes but not always.

And it's just like what you were saying that if in fact I am saying all right, I need to, to the teaser, I'm telling my legs where they should be as opposed to allowing the body to find where it is that it's saying for me this system will work. Let me do it. So the body has this wisdom, this system in place that it is the conjunction of mind body. The fusion of not always just focused on the body, making it, do it, not always let the body just do what it wants to do. But it is the connection between those two systems that Mr [inaudible] was talking about in unity, harmony, balance. And that that is truly what he was directing us to do.

Now we have to think that when he was a child, he was very sickly, um, and he was bullied and it's been sad. And again, this is all conjecture that, um, he lost his left eye when he was five years old from bullies. Um, they threw a rock and, and he lost his sight in his eye and that, that had to be the certainly huge influence on who he became from there so that he was most likely directing his mind into his body. But at one point he was so developed physically that I think that it changed that back and forth so that there was a physical aspect. But there was this also driving mental aspect, um, bringing it almost to the spirit of the work that really took him to different levels with what he did. So if we're just thinking about the mind and we're just thinking about the body we're having, um, we are dividing the work. We have an a divided house falls. Um, it's, it's interesting and funny to me that um, back in the uh, 1980s, I was um, writing for the Los Angeles Times.

I was a fitness expert for the Los Angeles Times Syndicate for 10 years and I wrote articles on body lessons. So I always, always bringing polarities into this. And I wrote these wonderful, wonderful articles on the mind body connection and my editor from La called me up and said, Cathy, mind body connection. Have you lost your mind? Nobody's going to read this. You know, there's no such thing as mind, body, you know, you've got your mind, you got your body. Yeah, they work together. But, and then of course over the years as the research came really from the medical field, from the doctors saying, well, yes, our mind affects our heart rate, our blood pressure. We, if we are anxious about something mentally, it is going to affect all your physical systems. And they've made all of these connections into mind, body, so we've come all this way and now we're at the precipice of going, well, there really isn't mind body. We're taking it onto the next level. We're taking it into embodiment, what he's embodiment and we're taking it into what we need to have as not the division mind, body, but as the inclusion, harmony and the work of that unity that Mr [inaudible] spoke of of mind, body spirit, what Gil Hedley would call integral anatomy. Correct. Integral.

It's coming in different forms. Experiential and it's not, yeah, mechanical, mechanical and mechanical is a good word because it's, what are the mechanics? Okay. The mechanics are this, x of this exercise are, I'm bringing my feet together. I lift my leg up, I lower my leg. Okay? That's the mechanics, but that's not really what's happening because I'm not telling my leg how it is going to lift and show all each one of us. We'll be doing, okay, I'm sitting and I'm bringing my feet together. I'm lifting my leg up. Well, I just use completely different muscles than I used when I lift my leg up because I lifted it this way instead of this way. So who knows?

I can't say anatomically what's happening in every body when we're lifting the leg up, but I can, when I say to you, find your core we are isn't, don't roll back two inches and lift your legs, roll back to where you are, feeling your body, where your body's telling you, I can do this. Let me do it. Not the other way around. I think that all teachers could hear or I could hear that more often and square, I want to teach more. Because you do, you teach the mechanics. It's important to learn the mechanics, but then to find out what works for you. Yes. It to the students, including us in where you go. I'm going to get the teaser.

Right, right. And and make it happen, right? Yes. I mean did not stay because your cues were find your strong point. But I think if you were to say, okay, now here's the next variation, roll back, come forward with legs in a different look and feel. I was, Kathy grant was teaching that particular the rowing two teaser, um, at PMA. She, in the room there were over a hundred people of all different levels and body types. And, and I had to stop for a, brought tears to my eyes. There were over a hundred beautiful teasers in that room.

There was not one person who couldn't experience that movement because she taught them how to use their bodies. And it was a true mind, body experience and, and spirit. I mean, people were going like, ugh. Yeah, I believe it. I've never done this before. [inaudible] so it was so wonderful. It was absolutely fantastic. Thank you. You're very welcome. Thank you. It's been great. It's been great.

But I think also one of the things is that you have to get enough experience under your belt, um, both in learning and teaching and growing and being with the clients and being, um, frustrated. Um, to get to the place where you're going, okay, well wait a minute. Maybe I am, I know we have to have control and I know we have to have concentrations, but am I doing it too much? Am I not just letting myself experience the work to be joyful in it too, to say, okay, what did I just want to feel it? I just want to move with it. Let the body have its moment. Yeah. Cause otherwise, what for otherwise like for what otherwise, what for? I totally agree with you.

It's been more like, you know, we're divorced. Yes. Readjust. I mean the instructors, you, um, again, I'll speak for myself, but my role up or whatever is, it's like, and again, if the anatomical work okay, bring the shoulders down. Yeah. Yeah. It becomes this like twitch of now I've got to do that. Oh, is what is this list that is important early on? It's important early on all. Yeah. It's not like that bad. No, not at all. Not at all. Different levels. And then you go, okay, now, now what's the next level? And you go, Oh, you know, Emily, hopefully you right. That's why I wanted to, it's because I was so excited when I heard it. I'm starting to think that way. I felt the wisdom of the body experience at the movement and move away from words like control and contain. Yeah. Um, but when Cathy started speaking about it particularly, cause she's my first teacher. Yeah. It was so exciting to me.

So that's why I don't think enough teachers are saying it unless I'm just not hearing it. No, I don't think and I don't think so at this level. And you managed to take us from, Oh my God, we better do the teaser. Right. Because we need to make ourselves look good and make you look good. And you just took us completely out of that too. This play experience plays that fabulous.

Thank you. Thank you. Yeah. Love it. Yes. Yeah. But I was so fortunate to have strict teachers, to have teachers who said to me, do this because I told you to do it. You know, you're not doing it correctly and don't come back until you get this two teachers who said you don't really know your own body, do you? We're not going well I guess I and why not? Well, because I been doing what I was told. Um, well don't do that anymore. So I had all of that nixed in there and still it's, you know, 31 years and I'm still just getting, you know, in, in five years when I'll have this more, I'll be able to articulate it more because I'll be experiencing it more to be here yesterday. Okay. Well there you are.

And just to add one more layer to it, it's like you're asking the next level of what I think where this seems to be going. Yeah. Yes, yes. And what you just said about in five years we'll be able to articulate better. It's like you're now back to the beginning again with, because you're aware of it. I call it the spiral of learning that sometimes I think I'm in exactly the same place I was going backwards or almost going backwards. Like, like, am I just circling die? It's a spiral going down or it's a spiral going up and it is a spiral in the sense that I'm often passing through the same place and learning and experiencing it on a completely as a completely different person.

Well I understand, put that in the context of the universe, which is also spiraling. Right. So it could never be the same. I stole that. But yeah, no, it's true. You can't go backwards. No, but sometimes you go, yeah, maybe this is as far as I'm going to go, you know? Yeah. Right. And then something else clicks and you say, oh, that's why I was supposed to be back here. Right. That was, you know, that's lesson I'm getting a lot is catches my eye. Continual interest is because it touches on never ending potential, you know, never ending potential. Yeah. I love that about it.

And thank God because it is, it's like breathing. I know when I say like that was the best inhale I've ever done, I'm not going to do another one. And that's it. So, you know, and, and, and some of the, the younger teachers and certainly the more fitness oriented people who, who, you know, come to me and say, well, um, uh, are you going to teach us new stuff? And I go, yes, I may teach you the same extra [inaudible] it is back is going to be new today to you because you're here now, not last year. Yeah or not, you know, or you know, oh I don't need to bother with leg and foot work. I know like in footwork it's like no, you, you know, if you think you know, leg and foot were cut off your feet. It's always learning about that.

It's always getting into how can I experience this? It's about experiencing and the more that we do something in our bones, getting it into the bones, it is the way that we do it. That was from master teacher Bruce King. It has to go into the bones and he threw away so many exercises. He just said they were not necessary because people are doing them badly because they're not spending the time to get it in the bones.

Once the basic program is in the bones, they can do anything. I don't care what it is that they're doing. They can do a thousand exercises in a thousand movements. But until it is the, in the bones, the placement of the bones that determines, and this is what we were doing, the placement of your body determines how you're going to move. And so he just kept saying, you know, just go back to the very beginning, stay there until you just are not thinking it. Your body is experiencing and you go along for the ride.

That's perfect. Go a lot. Just go along for the ride. That's pretty much what I'm doing at this point in my life that is to go no. And all of my teachers, you know, taught up until the time that they passed away and they loved it, you know. And I, um, kept saying to Kathy, Greg Caddy, you really, you know, you should take off next winter. She would get on the subway from Brooklyn and going to NYU at five 30 in the morning in the dark, in the cold and at 89 years old. And, um, she said, no, if I stopped teaching, I will die.

I, you know, I needed as much as they need me. And, you know, and Eve, and Emil and Clara, Joe, I mean, all of them. Um, they, they brought it, you know, through their lives all the way through their lives. And I, I do think it is something that is so much more than exercise, which is what I'm really exploring now. I used to say it's a lifestyle, but now I'm even thinking of going on a deeper level with that and you know, and why has it survived, you know, it was, you know, when I started, it was almost a cult back in the late seventies. You're either injured or crazy and I wasn't injured.

Comments

3 people like this.
I loved this...never ending potential....learning till it is bone deep....the mind/body connection.....a divided house falls down. I will continue to learn and grow in my Pilates and Pilates Anytime was the best thing to ever happen. Many Thanks, Trish:)
Continuing to learn and grow... to me that's that the whole point... of everything! Thank you Trish!
This was lovely, thank you for sharing.
A beautiful conversation to get to hear...thank you for sharing with us all. What was the class that was taught just before?
Thank you so much ,you are so gracefull!!!
Very inspiring!
1 person likes this.
Thank you for this. This conversation falls right into what I am studying at JFK University-MA in Counseling with an emphasis in Somatic Psychology. As a long time athlete, I am finding a new purpose in why I workout and why it serves my mind, body and soul and how it is all connected! Thank you again!
1 person likes this.
I loved this brief discussion. I listened for the first time and I got so much from Cathy's reflections. I wish, though, that the 3 students were "miked" so we could hear their contributions. It was one-sided and I would have liked to hear their input.
Inspiring and relevant to where I am in life right now! Thank you for the connection.
Very valuable!
Thank you! "In the bones". Awesome, I agree, Pilates is not just exercise. It's the fusion of mind-body-spirit that creates something so big that I really think changes our DNA. :)
1 person likes this.
Wow!!! This is eye opening! She explains it so well! What class are you all referring to here?!

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