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I am deeply inspired by the practice of Pilates “Body, Mind & Soul”, or said another way within a yogic, healing context. Reading Joseph Pilates’ manifesto “Return to Life: Through Contrology” and studying his life, it is clear he understood yoga, gymnastics, Zen, ancient Greek & Roman physical fitness models, and naturopathic healing methods. He fully intended a whole-Self experience every session of Pilates and expected people to undertake a lifelong practice or pursuit of development – mind, body and spirit.
To give you an idea, here are some of his famous sayings:
• “The acquirement and enjoyment of physical well-being, mental calm and spiritual peace are priceless to their possessors”
• “Contrology (Pilates) develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind, and elevates the spirit.”
• “The Pilates Method of Body Conditioning is complete coordination of body, mind and spirit.”
• “Above all, learn how to breathe correctly.”
• “As a heavy rainstorm freshens the water of a sluggish or stagnant stream and whips it into immediate action, so does the Pilates Methods purify the bloodstream.”
• “To achieve the highest accomplishments within the scope of our capabilities in all walks of life we must constantly strive to acquire strong, healthy bodies and develop our minds to the limits of our ability.”
And, here’s a picture of him practicing a handstand (from yoga!).
The complication is that traditional Pilates Teacher Training programs and Pilates Classicists emphasize exact replication of the exercise and continuous correction throughout the lesson. While this method is thought to help achieve maximum quality for clients time after time, it also tends to create a left-brain, analytical, “am I doing it right?”, “is that it yet?” striving for perfection type of focus. This is antithetical, and even undermining to a more yogic pursuit of process, which I, and I think Mr. Pilates would, ascribe to: letting go, working with awareness, focus on breath, cultivating a practice, and being in the moment exactly where you are – right now. Ahh, doesn't that sound nice?
When I work from a yogic frame in my own practice and in teaching clients, I find the possibility of utter joy, the affects of tension/stress and release, inspiration for deliberate practice, a personal window inward and the true union of mind, body and soul. People feel good about themselves and their practice, and they are left in charge of their own experience of the Pilates Method with the classic information available to guide them. They open up for what may never had been imagined, like knowing themselves as strong, capable, peaceful, flexible, grounded and, my personal favorite, courageous in the face of fear. There is a spirit of accomplishment and radiant clearing for health, healing and unimaginable happiness.
Reiki, pronounced ray-kee, is a healing modality originating in Japan. This hands-on healing technique is given by a reiki practitioner who has been attuned to the energy and trained by a Reiki Master Teacher. In a reiki session, the practitioner passes energy to the client with various hand positions. The client then receives energy to balance, relax and stimulate his or her body's self-healing mechanisms. Reiki allows us to live in greater health, well being, harmony and balance. And it is not only for people with serious medical conditions. Everyone can try, even celebrities.
Christina Aguilera reportedly used reiki to lose weight! A source told the National Enquirerer "Christina also credits a low-carb diet and yoga workouts for her new look, but Reiki puts her mind in a good place and gives her the discipline to eat healthy and maintain weight loss. She sees a Reiki mater for private sessions three times a week.'' Since Reiki helps us to feel more balanced, it is a valuable addition to a weight loss program.
Reiki can do a lot of wonderful things; here is a short list of benefits to get you started:
Create a sense of calmness
Reduce stress and encourage a need to take better care of yourself
Bring more clarity to your life and help you make more mindful choices in your life (whether that be about food, love life, career etc.)
Give you more energy (which typically leads to more exercise)
Create better sleep patterns and quality of sleep
Intrigued? Come give it a try! I am a RMT (reiki master teacher), and I invite all of you to sign up for reiki sessions with me by appointment here at PRACTICE.
“The black moment is the moment when the real message of
transformation is going to come. At the darkest moment comes
the light.” – Joseph Campbell
As we move through the darkest days of the year and toward the winter solstice
and the light, I am thinking of the hero’s journey. I am thinking of the stellar
culmination of our first fall Practice 200 hour yoga teacher training, and I am
thinking of transformation.
The winter Solstice marks the shortest day/the longest night of the year in the
northern hemisphere. From this day moving forward each day becomes longer.
Hooray! Solstice celebration marks the returning of the light, the warmth, the
To be fair, the darkness affords us the opportunity to come inside and take
stock of ourselves. It is a time to turn the attention inward and explore our own
shadows. To clear out the cobwebs and to bravely go where we may not want to
go! Courage and commitment to walking the path of truth is founded in darkness.
Darkness is fertile ground for the seeds of change.
This journey into and out of darkness is one of transformation. It is a hero’s
journey, because it takes a heroic effort to manifest change. The Practice
Teacher Training just ending is a perfect example of such a journey. Each of
these beautiful heroes stood bravely and slayed dragons that had surely held
them hostage before. Each found ways to shine so bright that they certainly
surprised themselves. They/we began as a group of individuals and ended as a
sacred circle of friendship, support and commitment to personal and collective
integrity. It is a proud moment for all, for PRACTICE!
(The next teacher training begins in February! It will surely change your life!)
To me, ultimately the hero’s journey is everyday of my life on and off the
mat. It is the Practice of cultivating awareness of thoughts, words and actions
in relationship with my loved ones, my community, and myself. It is living on
my growing edge and working all the time to be connected to infinite love and
compassion and not be limited by fear. It is the commitment to being awake and
present in each moment of life, grateful for the gifts before my very eyes.
This Native American Parable speaks volumes:
The Creator had this precious gift and needed to hide it somewhere where
no one would easily find it. So he gathered the animals and asked their advice.
The eagle said” I know I will fly it to the moon. No one will find it there. The
creator replied, “Good idea, but I don’t know I think those people will build rockets
and get it.”
The Buffalo said, Oh I know I will dig a deep hole in the earth and bury it.
They will never find it. The Creator shook his head, well, I think they will. The
salmon said, “ok I’ve got it:” I will swim it to the bottom of the ocean and hide it
there. “Not bad really” said the creator, “but I just know those people will find a
way.” Finally the little mole spoke up. “ I know”, he said, “Hide it inside of them.”
"Perfect!” the creator replied, “It is the last place they’re going to look."
The hero’s journey insists on the looking. Looking is key! Opening
the eyes and the heart! Waking up! The very idea of looking is revolutionary!
As Guruji said, “Eyes are closing, Sleep is coming.”
“The main sin is inadvertence, not being attentive to life,
to the moment you are in, to its mystery, to what is happening
right here now. When that is there, and realize that the whole
mystery and void is shining through at you, you are there."
Welcome to our blog, Imagine! Here, you’ll find inspiration and ideas about Body Mind Soul living from our PRACTICE Team.
We'll post healthy recipes, motivational quotes, and enlightening books. We'll also offer tips about our specialties and stories about our spiritual journeys. You'll read about trends in Pilates, yoga, psychological well-being, energy healing, and nutrition. You’ll even read about personal transformation through PRACTICE.
At PRACTICE, we often use the phrase “unimaginable happiness.” With PRACTICE, the happiness that you once thought was unimaginable can become your reality. Can you Imagine that? As the John Lennon song goes, Imagine all the people: living for today, living life in peace, sharing all the world. This is what Body Mind Soul living is all about. Your unimaginable happiness is within your reach.
So we say PRACTICE, we say, “I hope someday, you’ll join us.” And if you already have, we’re so grateful to have you on board!