"I believe that we learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to dance by practicing dancing, or to learn to live by practicing living, the principles are the same. In each, it is the performance of a dedicated, precise set of acts, physical or intellectual, from which comes shape of achievement, the sense of one’s being, the satisfaction of spirit. One becomes in some area an athlete of God. Practice means to perform over and over again, in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire." - Martha Graham
Pilates is all about practice. Like any meaningful pursuit, Pilates encompasses dedication and hard work. We repeat the movements and sequences over and over. Again and again. Try today; try tomorrow. Get stronger. Get flexible. Build a more balanced body.
There is no final goal to reach in Pilates. The desire to improve never ends. It’s a lifetime practice. Strength, flexibility, balance, endurance, mind-body connection—there is always work to be done here.
“Who is an authentic seeker, but someone who has understood that there is nothing else to do but practice? Enthusiastic or discouraged, he or she continues, no matter what."-Lee Lozowick
Some days I feel growth and progress. I stay connected to my breath—deep, full breath; I take in life, and expel used energy. I flow through the movements fast, with grace and ease. I feel powerful—equals parts strength and flexibility.
Other days I hit a wall. I question if I’ve improved in the last six months. I am weak. The movements feel heavy, full of effort, like I’m pushing my muscles through mud.
But as with all things, you cannot have the good without the bad—both are essential for the practice. The difficult days are when I feel challenged, not only physically, but also on a mental level. I question why I practice Pilates, why I teach the method, why I write about it, and why I so wholeheartedly believe in it.
And I am required to answer.
But the answers come quickly. Firstly, it’s my moving meditation and truly helps me to be a better person. It creates peace, balance, and pure joy within my internal world.
Secondly, it’s highly effective. It’s an incredibly intelligent method, created by a man who was a genius about the body and movement. Pilates builds a balanced body—one that is both strong and flexible. This, undoubtedly, is essential for living a fulfilling life. When people feel their best physically, it profoundly impacts their internal and external world in the most positive of ways. Not only do I love experiencing the benefits of Pilates on my own body and mind, I also love sharing and teaching this method, a remarkable tool and gift, to my students.
And so, again and again, I return home to my mat for a lifetime of practice.
"Abhyasa (practice) is a dedicated, unswerving, constant, and vigilant search into a chosen subject pursued against all odds in the face of repeated failures, for indefinitely long periods of time."- B.K.S. Iyengar