Gut Instinct: Intuition vs. Education
Flying by the seat of your pants and going on your gut instinct has gotten you far…it has! But…there is a big difference between intuition and education.
Today, I write this because I hear a lot of Pilates people finding themselves impressed by others’ intuitive sense. “She’s such an intuitive teacher” is a common phrase I hear. Intuition is a great foundation, but it’s education that trumps it every time.
Our intuitive sense on how the body works, how people learn, how apparatus works, what each exercise is for is a great place to start. It feels like something or seems like something to you…relative to what you’ve experienced or have learned from others. This is how we all begin. We trust those who teach us and this is a great start. However, there is further to go.
We must be able to back up all intuition with answers that that can be proven. There are, of course, still many things that cannot be scientifically proven like the sense we have when a person is good…or bad or when you know something is going to happen and does, but for things biomechanical, mechanical and the like…it’s all physics and all backed up with knowledge. Tomorrow science might learn different things…but we must stay current with what we have today
You see, even with my intense physics training, dance training, physical therapy experience…before I started studying biomechanics and talking with doctors, orthopedists and biomechanics researchers, I went with my gut, too. I thought shoulders pull down and anchor, squeezing your seat gets you into the back of your legs, external rotation of the legs is an ideal position to strengthen, flattening my lower back into the mat when my legs are outstretched and uplifted is healthy and so many other things…that when I educated myself I learned otherwise. I learned that what I had been taught by an intuitive mover with a ballet background and not a biomechanical background was primarily biomechanically incorrect. That I was teaching from a very unstable foundation of guessing, rather than knowing. It’s taken years and years of real scientific study to relearn enough to be able to share with others in sessions and workshops…in blogs and articles. It’s been the most wonderful process!
I’ll ask you to consider what you think you know. It’s not an easy thing to do. You must second guess yourself for a moment:
Why do we find value in pulling abdominals in and up?
Why does Pilates work?
What does hugging your heels together do?
Really where do shoulder blades go when you are using your arms?
What do the most common phrases mean…and are they true…really true if you look into them biomechanically or scientifically?
I encourage you to second guess…and make sure you have more than the answer that your teacher told you…but study a bit more and make sure you know. Really know the answer.
What do abdominals really do?
Are there upper, middle, lower abdominals?
What does the back do?
Which muscles do what?
How does the body really work?
How do people really learn?
Do muscles actually lengthen?
How much space can we get in between vertebrae?
There are so many questions…the statements that you say every day…do you know the science behind what you say?
Where do you find the answers?
I suggest a constant study. Just go to Google or your favorite search engine and enter in the first thing that comes to your mind. Maybe it’s “abdominals”. Start reading what wikipedia says, then maybe something webMD says, maybe something the University of Michigan says, then a study about abdominals and how they affect the spine, etc., etc. Let’s see. You will learn so much that will hopefully inspire you to learn more.
Enter in “abdominals and spinal stability” or “herniated discs” maybe “osteoporosis contraindications” and “hernias and exercise” then there’s “biomechanics of the hip joint” and so on and so forth.
Then…ask people who study this in sincerity: Doctors (your doctor will be thrilled that you ask), physical therapists, kinesiologists and the handful of Pilates and movement teachers who study this as a sincere passion: Karen Clippinger, Irene Dowd and many more…and dare I put myself in this category as I continually study all things related to our bodies and mind in the effort to learn and share. Whoever you study with, you must ensure that they are not biased to make their particular method work or sell their product…it’s important that the bias is toward modern biomechanics and education…nothing more, nothing less.
Seek inside Pilates, but outside as well! You must! I read article upon article, review upon review written by doctors, athletic trainers of elite athletes, doctors, professors….people who are completely committed to seeking and using the truth of how the human body works.
And what if you find that what you’re learning on this search is different from what you’re doing. Do you throw out what you’ve been doing? Do you feel bad about yourself? No, no, no. What you do is study more. When you’re convinced of what to do from your sincere private education and corroboration from those who study and work with how the body really works…that’s when you make changes.
I took a wonderful workshop with Karen Clippinger this past weekend at Pilates on Tour in Boston. She and I teach very different styles of Pilates, but I saw that we’re both working for the same end: healthy, strong, supple, balanced bodies and minds. Repeatedly, she said “In my experience, and there are reports that support this…” whenever she would state a biomechanics reality viewed in clients. And I think that’s very telling. Our experience is vital…what we see is sincere…but there must be reports that back up what we think we are seeing and what’s actually happening in the human body.
Your experience, your good sense, your intuition is great…but…there need to be reports to back it all up…support from the scientific community.
Study with me and many others so we can make truly informed decisions. So that you can truly be confident not from heresay, but from true education. You deserve that and so do your clients!
Great books I use as resources:
Atlas of Human Anatomy – Frank H. Netter, M.D.
Gray’s Anatomy – Henry Gray, F.R.S.
Essentials of Exercise Physiology – William D. McArdle BS M.Ed PhD, Frank I. Katch and Victor L. Katch
Dance Anatomy and Kinesiology – Karen Clippinger
Joint Structure and Function: A Comprehensive Analysis – Pamela Levangie and Cynthia Norkin
And then I spend a lot of time on the following websites:
And so many more videos of dissections, health professionals talking about recent studies and reports, reports of medical studies.
You, too, can start slowly with one simple questioning of what you say or do every day…to see if there is actual proof of its truth. This is a great practice!
And if you have any questions, hesitations, fears…just reach out to me and know that I will be here to help you find more resources so you can feel as confident as possible! You can always reach me at info@TheVerticalWorkshop.com or comment on any article/blog post. I will respond, indeed!
****Teach, study, practice and enjoy!****
As always, if you have specific questions, please reach out to me. Let’s do a consultation session about this or any questions you have regarding Pilates and your clients. I am grateful for the time you have spent reading this…
Register early and bring your teacher friends for workshops that exceed your normal expectations. It’s time you really got what you need from workshops…I work to provide! Your time and money are precious. Let’s give you what you need.
See full details below for:
Rhinebeck, NY – Sept. 30
Helsinborg, SWEDEN – Oct. 20-22 (likely dates)
Mamaroneck, NY – Dec. 2
(and more to follow!)
Sept. 30 – Rhinebeck Pilates- Rhinebeck, NY
Semi-Private Sessions: 10a, 11a, 12n
Mysterious Aches and Pains – workshop – 1-3p
Even your normal, healthy clients still have weird aches and pains. Some that come and go and some that are chronic. In this vibrant workshop, we’ll discover the roots of and tips for managing those odd issues like clicking hips, crunchy knees, hyper-extended elbows and knees, pain in wrists, S.I. joint trouble, sciatica, frozen shoulder, migraine headaches, vertigo and so many more! Bring with you your questions about normal physical issues that are seeming mysteries. It’s time you got the answers you seek! Let’s answer them all!
For registration or additional information, contact Elaine at email@example.com and see the listing on their site: http://rhinebeckpilates.com/events.html
Oct. 19-21 – Studiopilates – Helsinborg, SWEDEN
Fre 19 oktober
- Semiprivat 14:00 – 18:00
Lör 20 oktober
- 08:30 – 09:15 Mat with small ball – Masterclass
- 09:30 – 12:30 Biomechanics – How our body works, Workshop (3PMA CEC)
- 12:30 – 13:30 Lunch
- 13:30 – 15:30 Small ball – workshop, (2 PMA CEC)
- 15:45 – 17:45 Back problems – Workshop (3 PMA CEC)
- 17:45 – 18:00 Discussion forum
- 08:30 – 09:25 Mat with archival variations – Masterclass
- 09:30 – 12:30 Archival mat and standing variations – Workshop (3PMA CEC)
- 12:30 – 13:30 Lunch
- 13:30 – 17:30 Flow and rythm, opposition – Workshop (4PMA CEC)
- Semiprivat 595 SEK / 55 min
- Masterclass 250 SEK/klass
- Workshop 400 SEK/tim
- Hela dagen (lö eller sö) 2500 SEK
- Hela helgen (lö-sö) 4500 SEK
Förkunskap: Beginner mat
Go to: http://www.powerpilates.nu/index.php/utbildningsprogram/workshop/ for the online information
For more information and registration, contact Petra Karlsson at firstname.lastname@example.org – And check back here often!
Dec. 2, 2012 – Mamaroneck (Westchester), NY, USA – Fiore Pilates
Semi-Private Sessions: 10a & 11a
Biomechanics and Functional Anatomy: How the Body Really Works and How to Cue That Reality – 12:30p-4:30p
While your physical intuition is an important asset in teaching Pilates, intuition is not enough. To sincerely take care of your clients, you must know the truth of how the body works. Cue the reality, not the myths or mistakes. Being a confident teacher depends on it…demands it. We’ll work to understand the bio-mechanics primarily surrounding the pelvis, spine with a minor bit of shoulder girdle to connect the torso and how to apply this information to your teaching. I promise to make this information extremely accessible. You won’t even realize that you’re learning the physics of your body! Knowing and understanding is the only way.
For more information, contact Fiore Pilates at email@example.com or call 914-381-3201
And so many more workshops to come…we can do one at your studio, too!
****Please share this information and tell your Pilates teacher friends and colleagues to come on over for workouts and workshops that will get your Pilates-teaching-juices flowing.****
Again, these are not your typical workshops where you might get 1 useful tidbit. You will leave full of new teaching skills and ways to look at Mr. Pilates work. You will have a new perspective on Pilates that will enliven your teaching and your own workouts!
Shall we set up something at your studio or the one you work at? Clearly, I travel to teach and enjoy it! Read below for more info!
Workshops in Your Studio:
If you are interested in my teaching workshops and/or semi-private sessions for your teachers at your studio, please contact me at info@TheVerticalWorkshop.com
I’ll be thrilled to put together a program with you for your needs!
While my vocabulary of exercises is classical Pilates, the principles behind my teaching and workshops apply to every style of Pilates.
We have countless topics to play with within technique workshops, biomechanics and functional anatomy workshops and teaching skills workshop that apply to all!
Sessions: If you’re in NYC and want a Pilates session e-mail me atinfo@TheVerticalWorkshop.com
Workshops: If you’d like a workshop and/or semi-privates at your studio, e-mail me at info@TheVerticalWorkshop.com I travel all over the world and would be thrilled to come to you!
Consultation: If you’d like to set up a meeting on the phone or in person to ask questions about teaching or building/maintaining your business, e-mail me at info@TheVerticalWorkshop.com
Thank you, as always, for taking the time to read this blog! I hope you’ll search around the blog and find articles that appeal to you, write comments, ask questions…I hope you’ll really make use of this! Then…I do hope to work with you in person, too!
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