Gut Instinct: Intuition vs. Education

September 18, 2012 at 7:39 pm 22 comments

Gray’s Anatomy

Atlas of Human Anatomy



Study the Science of the Human Body

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:

WebMD.com
spine-health.com
mayoclinic.com/health-information

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…

Workshops:

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
2PMA CECs
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 info@rhinebeckpilates.com and see the listing on their site: http://rhinebeckpilates.com/events.html

Oct. 19-21 – Studiopilates – Helsinborg, SWEDEN

Program

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
Sö 21 oktober
  • 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)

Priser:

  • 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 info@studiopilates.se – 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

4PMA CECs

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 info@fiorepilatesonline.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!

Enjoy!

– Shari

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Independence Through Pilates… Efficiency…Part 1 of 4: Order of Muscular Engagement

22 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Marcia  |  September 18, 2012 at 10:35 pm

    Wonderful Shari! I am so looking forward to finally meeting you in October. See you soon!!! Marcia (From Sydney)

    Reply
    • 2. theverticalworkshop  |  September 18, 2012 at 11:22 pm

      Hello, Marcia!
      I’ll see you very soon, indeed!
      All the best,
      – Shari

      Reply
  • 3. Tracy  |  September 19, 2012 at 7:44 am

    Hi Shari!  I love what you wrote, and I’m coming to rhinebeck, but I want to say; my intuition is not coming from an uneducated place.  2 + years of biology, anatomy, kinesiology, neurology, physiology, and ongoing study (i will never stop) is hardly guessing,  and while I know very little, even the most dedicated scientists don’t know everything and are often wearing blinders when it comes to their infatuation with dogma that is not based completely on the evidence.  Just like Pilates teachers!  So while I love what you say and teach, I hesitate to make science the only arbiter of truth in my life.  And I don’t have to, because it is not in my scope of practice to be a scientist.  Which gives me some freedom to question, and explore, and learn completely subjectively and personally many things.  Including how Pilates works in the bodies of my clients and myself.
    “knowledge, the wings with which we fly to heaven”
    Shakespeare.

    Tracy Bloom, BS, LMT
    Authentic Pilates Instruction – ACE personal training
    Licensed Therapeutic Massage
    http://www.bloommassageandfitness.com
    203.451.1591

    On Sep 18, 2012, at 11:38 PM, Shari Berkowitz wrote:

    Shari Berkowitz posted in American Body Tech Pilates Studio

    Shari Berkowitz 11:37pm Sep 18
    Kathi and Pilates Teachers! The latest Pilates Teacher Blog is up! “Gut Instinct: Intuition vs. Education” Check it out at http://www.TheVerticalWorkshop.wordpress.com
    Enjoy!
    – Shari Berkowitz
    The Vertical Workshop’s Pilates Teacher Blog
    theverticalworkshop.wordpress.com
    Pilates Teacher Resource
    Hi Shari!  I love what you wrote, and I’m coming to rhinebeck, but I want to say; my intuition is not coming from an uneducated place.  2 + years of biology, anatomy, kinesiology, neurology, physiology, and ongoing study (i will never stop) is hardly guessing,  and while I know very little, even the most dedicated scientists don’t know everything and are often wearing blinders when it comes to their infatuation with dogma that is not based completely on the evidence.  Just like Pilates teachers!  So while I love what you say and teach, I hesitate to make science the only arbiter of truth in my life.  And I don’t have to, because it is not in my scope of practice to be a scientist.  Which gives me some freedom to question, and explore, and learn completely subjectively and personally many things.  Including how Pilates works in the bodies of my clients and myself.
    “knowledge, the wings with which we fly to heaven”
    Shakespeare.

    Tracy Bloom, BS, LMT
    Authentic Pilates Instruction – ACE personal training
    Licensed Therapeutic Massage
    http://www.bloommassageandfitness.com
    203.451.1591

    On Sep 18, 2012, at 11:38 PM, Shari Berkowitz wrote:

    Shari Berkowitz posted in American Body Tech Pilates Studio

    Shari Berkowitz 11:37pm Sep 18
    Kathi and Pilates Teachers! The latest Pilates Teacher Blog is up! “Gut Instinct: Intuition vs. Education” Check it out at http://www.TheVerticalWorkshop.wordpress.com
    Enjoy!
    – Shari Berkowitz
    The Vertical Workshop’s Pilates Teacher Blog
    theverticalworkshop.wordpress.com
    Pilates Teacher Resource

    View Post on Facebook · Edit Email Settings · Reply to this email to add a comment.

    View Post on FHi Shari!  I love what you wrote, and I’m coming to rhinebeck, but I want to say; my intuition is not coming from an uneducated place.  2 + years of biology, anatomy, kinesiology, neurology, physiology, and ongoing study (i will never stop) is hardly guessing,  and while I know very little, even the most dedicated scientists don’t know everything and are often wearing blinders when it comes to their infatuation with dogma that is not based completely on the evidence.  Just like Pilates teachers!  So while I love what you say and teach, I hesitate to make science the only arbiter of truth in my life. Remember when fascia was just “a substance”?  And I don’t have to, because it is not in my scope of practice to be a scientist.  Which gives me some freedom to question, and explore, and learn subjectively and personally many things.  Including how Pilates works in the bodies of my clients and myself.
    “knowledge, the wings with which we fly to heaven”
    Shakespeare.

    Tracy Bloom, BS, LMT

    Reply
    • 4. Tracy  |  September 19, 2012 at 7:47 am

      Shari, the last entry is the correct, edited one thanks, sorry to be repetitive!

      Reply
  • 5. jodie  |  September 19, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Great article and thanks for the links. I always enjoy your articles.
    Thanks for continually helping and guiding us,

    Reply
    • 6. theverticalworkshop  |  September 22, 2012 at 6:30 pm

      Jodie!
      It’s great to hear from you! Thank you for your kind words!
      I hope you’re well and enjoying yourself!
      – Shari

      Reply
  • 7. Eva  |  September 21, 2012 at 9:19 am

    how right you are, Shari, again!
    we teachers should never base our teaching on mere intuition
    (some theories on intuition actually state that it stems from experience, but I don’t want to open up a discussion on intuition here)
    however, very encouraging once more to never stop studying, doing research and questioning, especially when our ‘intuition’ tells us that something seems not logical
    as for me, the more I discover about Pilates, esp. anatomy and biomechanics, the more I feel I don’t know, it even gets intimidating at times, so thanks for the encouragement and the useful links!

    Reply
    • 8. theverticalworkshop  |  September 22, 2012 at 6:29 pm

      Eva,
      It’s lovely hearing from you!
      Of course, we hope that intuition stems from experience, but still…if it’s about a biomechanical issue…it had better be based in something that can be proven. We all work with intuition from experience…and that’s appropriate, but if we only teach from that and then teach things that are biomechanically incorrect (like shoulders must pull down and anchor or you need to squeeze your seat to make your glutes strong and that either of these are healthy actions…and so many more…then we’ve got some problems…and that’s a big issue in Pilates, indeed.)

      Now…the more we study, the more we realize that we need to learn, but that’s a good thing! Otherwise the horrible “complacency” overtakes…and that’s when teachers get bored and overconfident. So…always good to find humility and the sense that there is never enough learning to do!

      With that, we’ve got to organize how we study and what we do with it. That is certainly something that we can do together. I must put together a project that helps everyone study together. I have some ideas that we all can do. I will launch it soon!

      All the best…and thank you!
      – Shari

      Reply
      • 9. Tracy  |  September 24, 2012 at 7:49 am

        yes! Body College for instructors! I can’t wait!

      • 10. theverticalworkshop  |  September 24, 2012 at 9:43 pm

        Body College for Instructors…or better yet: Teachers…is coming up! I’m working on creating a program that will be just that…sincerely! It’s time!

  • 11. Kara Martin Snyder  |  September 23, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Thank you for the terrific resources, Shari!

    Reply
    • 12. theverticalworkshop  |  September 24, 2012 at 9:44 pm

      Kara! It’s my pleasure!
      Very good to hear from you!
      – Shari

      Reply
    • 13. theverticalworkshop  |  October 2, 2012 at 11:35 am

      Hi, Kara! It’s my pleasure to share these with you!
      I have a series of biomechanical reports, reviews and more that I’m gathering to help teachers understand more. Keep your eyes open for it all!
      I hope you’re well!
      Enjoy!
      – Shari

      Reply
      • 14. jodie  |  October 2, 2012 at 11:50 am

        Cannot wait for those reports. 🙂

  • 15. Susan Renee Pollack  |  September 30, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    Shari, thank you for encouraging knowledge in and outside of pilates. I can never know enough and I hope I always welcome each person’s understanding of movement both intuition and science based.

    Reply
    • 16. theverticalworkshop  |  October 2, 2012 at 11:34 am

      Hello, Susan,
      It’s lovely to hear from you! Thank you,very kindly, for taking the time to read this article and send me word!
      Those of us who are true teachers are always true students! It’s the best way to be!
      All the very best to you!
      – Shari

      Reply
  • 17. Elizabeth  |  October 1, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    Shari,
    I can’t wait to set up a date and time to have you come do this at my studio. Let’s look at a date for next year.
    Sincerely,
    Elizabeth Brown

    Reply
    • 18. theverticalworkshop  |  October 2, 2012 at 11:33 am

      Hello, Elizabeth,
      Thank you for reading this! And, yes, I’d love to see what 2013 holds for us. I will e-mail you separately. Let’s make a plan!
      All the very best,
      – Shari

      Reply
  • 19. Eva  |  October 5, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Hi Shari,

    great news to hear that you are also thinking about offering access to your workshops on Pilates biomechanics as webinars; I was about to ask for that after having read about your ‘anatomy afternoons’, looking forward to downloadable or online workshops on these subjects, thank you so much for keeping us informed!

    Reply
  • 20. Joondalup Pilates  |  October 18, 2012 at 2:19 am

    Fabulous work Shari! Will check those book out.

    Reply
    • 21. theverticalworkshop  |  October 18, 2012 at 12:45 pm

      Thank you for taking the effort to read on!
      – Shari

      Reply
  • 22. The Vertical Workshop's Pilates Teacher Blog  |  December 6, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    […] Gut Instinct:  Intuition vs. Education […]

    Reply

Please Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Sessions via Skype

Would you like to do a workout, question/answer or mini-workshop session with Shari? Each week, Shari works with teachers all over the world via Skype. Email Shari at info@TheVerticalWorkshop.com

Workshop Download – The Music of Pilates

Buy, Info, FREE Sample

Workshops

Full info listed under "Workshop Calendar" at www.TheVerticalWorkshop.com/workshops

EVERY DAY at your home:
The Music of Pilates
www.TheVerticalWorkshop.com/the-music-of-pilates

2017...
January 13-15 Webinar
June 9-11 Rio de Janeiro, BRASIL
(more to come as I work around my graduate school schedule)

2016...
February 26-28 Rhinebeck, NY
March 10-13 - Live-Streaming Webinar of The Intensives Seminar #1
April 1-3 Bethesda, MD
April 22-24 - London, ENGLAND
May 15 - NYC, NY
June 3-5 London, ENGLAND
July??? - Live-Streaming Webinar of The Intensives Seminar #2
September 30 - October 2 London, ENGLAND

EVERY DAY at your home:
The Music of Pilates
www.TheVerticalWorkshop.com/the-music-of-pilates

Archives

Special Thanks:

NYC's Finest Chiropractor

Joe Fiedler Trio

Incredible Music

Fantastic Music

The Vertical Workshop

The Vertical Workshop Pilates

Link yourself to this blog…

Would you like to be listed on the Pilates Teacher Blog like the links you see above in "Special Thanks"?
E-mail me at info@TheVerticalWorkshop.com to find out how!


%d bloggers like this: