Pilates is a method of movement whereby we stabilize in one area for freedom of movement in another.
sensing weight + grounding effect
Down to go up. Grounding creates oppositional energy for the spine to develop tone. However sometimes too much tone will have clients gripping and bracing. Not enough tone will see them collapse and create stress patterns that are not informed by support.
A grounded movement helps clients root to rise from the ground upwards finding the right tone for supported movement.
Too much tone causes gripping; too little support causes collapsing or losing balance. Common gripping patterns are tightness in the neck or shoulders, a sore back or in one’s hips possibly from gripping the glutes.
Regardless of whether you on a mat, the carriage of the reformer, the seat of the chair, whatever is touching that piece of equipment is one of the primary foundations for movement.
Sensing what is touching the ground creates the counter force of lift, and or lengthening.
Tensegrity is a combination of tension and alignment, creating equilibrium in all planes. Combined with a co-contraction of spinal erector and abdominal muscles, tensegrity helps to find balance and ease of movement.
We want to activate our tissues with the intention of stabilizing the pelvis, spine and shoulder girdle and sense our weight distribution. Grounding can require pushing down for tone and reaching up for length.
Teaser on the chair as pictured above, requires tensegrity through the pelvis, shoulder girdle and spine as the hands push down on the chair peddles and there is a sense of weight in the sacrum, to help lift up out of the pelvis in a neutral spine.
Once our spine is aligned, we can breathe efficiently accessing appropriate tone and support 3-dimensionally from the multifidus to core abdominals from the ascending contraction of the Pelvic Floor on up. This tensegrity allows the psoas or hip flexors to lengthen the legs up and away from the body creating the beautiful line you see above.
Next time you are in class or your private, move with the intention of sensing your weight, and aligning your spine to create just enough tone to feel grounded and stable yet have freedom of movement.
You will experience wonderfully integrated movements that you achieved by working smarter not harder! No need to grip!