03 Jun Perfection is not a Principle of Pilates
Perfection in Pilates: it’s not a Principle!
No, it most definitely isn’t! And this is going to be my motto of the week! Quickly let’s look at the Principles of Pilates that are commonly quoted as being The Six Principles of Pilates: Breath, Centering, Concentration, Control, Precision, and Flow*. I’ve just checked again, and “Perfection” is not one of them. Precision is a Principle, but perfection in Pilates is not. Yes, we want to work to be as precise as possible with as much flow as we can muster (there’s that “working in opposition” again!).
I wanted to be perfection in Pilates – I wanted to make the perfect video to inspire! I’ve spent more than eight hours making the “Pilates Matwork B” video (what???) (check it out on the “resources” page here). And do you know what? It’s still stuffed full of mistakes! I hate it, I want to be better and I want it better… well, you know that’s as good a learning outcome as anyone can expect. Next time it will be better, precisely because I’ve learned new things. I’ve looked at my movements for a different perspective, I’ve been forced to do exercises I prefer not to (those are the ones we should be doing).
“The Struggle is Real” – Andrea Maida
When I was working on Focal Dystonia with Dr. Joaquin Farias, I coined a phrase that he was very impressed with “I am I, You are You and Paco de Lucia is Paco de Lucia. For Pilates you could just substitute Jean Claude Nelson for paco de Lucia! The header image (used with permission) of this post is in fact Jean Claude Nelson, check him out on YouTube (Bluebird Pilates Munich) – but is it perfection – we’d have to ask his opinion on that!
It’s a dream to achieve what he has achieved, perhaps I’ll never get there…
Perfection in Pilates is the destination – a dream
But it’s MY journey and I am where I am. I can see it on the video. I could delete the whole thing and start again tomorrow, but then I wouldn’t be doing MY homework (making videos) and that means that I wouldn’t be teaching. I wouldn’t be leading from the front. I wouldn’t be the owner of MY struggle. I’d be short-changing myself, short changing you and short changing the tradition of Pilates!
We are where we are in our own individual journeys. Just let’s make sure that every day, we’re moving forwards. Step by step, breath by breath!
Hope to see you soon – respect.
Footnote: The Principles of Pilates
* … this may come as a shock, but the Six Principles do not actually come from Joseph Pilates (“The Six Principles first appeared in The Pilates Method of Physical and Mental Conditioning by Philip Friedman and Gail Eisen) Thank you Andrea Maida: her blog post is here: click.
In “Return to Life” Joe has a chapter: “Guiding Principles of Pilates”. The Rules are, he says:
- “faithfully and without deviation follow the instructions”
- “keep your mind concentrated on the purpose of the exercises”
- “PATIENCE AND PERSISTENCE are vital qualities (…)”
- “perform your Contrology exercises ten minutes without fail”
There are many other pieces of advice given in his book deserving of a series of blog posts, but that’s for another day! Thank you very much Andrea for your help 🙂