This week I came across an amazing quote,
“Although we are intelligent, sensitive beings, we often think of ourselves as objects that need to be fixed.”
It comes from an article in Pilates Style by well-known Pilates teacher, Wendy LeBlanc-Arbuckle, who has been an inspiration to me for many years. The article is on the esoteric side, dealing with an “insider” controversy in Pilates. But you don’t have to understand that controversy to resonate with some of her quotes. Here are a few more:
“What ‘conversation’ are you having with your body? Are you ‘partnering with’ or ‘fighting’ gravity? Are you treating yourself as a biointelligent organism who knows how to self-regulate, adapt and self-heal, or a biomechanical machine that needs to be repaired and serviced?”
“we need to remove the mask of the ‘ideal’ body to reveal our ‘real’ body.”
“How can movement be nourishing and enlivening, rather than ‘I should do it this way’ (body schema) or ‘how I should look’ (body image)? This calls for real body awareness, for discovering our true self.”
“What can begin to inform our movement awareness is knowing that we are constantly in a state of flux throughout life, ‘shaping ourselves,’ physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. From this potent place, we have an opportunity to embody ‘core’ as a coordinated relationship with gravity, ourselves, one another and our environment. We develop a way of being in life that is grounded, curious and empathetic—way beyond movement as a ‘thing to do.’ “
There is so much packed in to each of these quotes that I will just let you, dear reader, interpret as you will. But one thing I would especially like to highlight is the reference to the “state of flux throughout life”. A recurring theme throughout this blog is that all of life, including we humans, are constantly changing. Despite the frequency with which I hear the phrase “I hate change”, it cannot be avoided. It’s happening all the time – like it or not!
Furthermore, everything is always moving forward in time. We can’t go back. We might have some misguided thoughts that somehow things were better at some mythical time in the past. But memory is faulty. And even if that were true, it doesn’t matter. What is real is the here and now. And that includes our bodies. Even if we don’t notice changes, they are happening within us and all around us. So we can “‘partner with gravity’ (release tension) or ‘fight gravity’ (create tension)”. Substitute the word “change” for “gravity” and you can see that there is a broader meaning here.
It seems to me that there is enough tension in the world and in our everyday lives without adding to that by fighting with our bodies. No matter what your current status, your body is a miraculous manifestation. You can choose to focus on your limitations, or you can recognize all of the things you are capable of. If you are reading this, that’s just one of them! The ability to move and breathe in any capacity is worth celebrating. And also worth maintaining. It is now well-known in the medical community that movement is an essential component to good health. Move what you can move while you can move it. It’s never too late to start and once you start you can always improve. Things will change over time, but if you stay in “conversation” with your body, you will learn to adapt. Here is one final quote:
“[W]hen we learn to listen to and be guided by our body wisdom, in relationship with gravity and spatial orientation, body schema begins to support our body image. We learn to embody our true selves. . . . we discover the inherent wisdom and intelligence within every cell of our body . . . we connect with the natural healing energy of the earth, and realign with our primal nature and relationship with the natural world”.
Move with that in mind and you just might be able to make peace with who you are and what you can do.
One thought on “Movement as Grace”
I loved reading these quotes and your thoughts on the topic too!
I see so many students in yoga classes fighting to achieve a certain depth in the postures, even when it ends up feeling painful or uncomfortable because they are pushing themselves too far. I try to teach my students to listen to themselves and follow what feels good in their own bodies.