A Guide on Your Journey
(Chichen Itza, Mexico. Photo by Violet Redekop. He looks a bit guidish, don’t you think?)
That is a true nature of a Pilates Instructor. Arguably, that is the true nature of any instructor or teacher.
We are a guide to you on your journey.
When it comes right down to it, your body is yours. You are the one living in it. You are the one experiencing the aches, the pains, the pleasures, the sensations in all their forms. You are the one experiencing how your arms feel in your shoulders, the way your spine feels as it bends.
You are the ultimate authority on your body.
You are the one who knows how you feel.
Yet it is common to be disconnected from those feelings. Many people don’t particularly feel the things going on in their body unless the signal is very loud. We forget how to move with the clear simplicity of a child. We injure ourselves and compensate naturally for injuries and forget how to go back to the freedom of movement we had before injury.
(Near Massachusetts, Photo by Violet Redekop. The greenery on the bridge is intended. It is a planted pedestrian bridge. Yet recent storms had washed up debris against the bridge. Nature may clear the debris on its own, but most likely deliberate intervention will be required to clear the way.)
That’s where I come in, where any movement instructor comes in.
I am the outside set of eyes watching you and seeing where you are moving effectively, where you are not.
But it is not enough to see you. Those sights and particularly insights need to come back to you, to give you ways, hopefully multiple, for you to go inside yourself and make change. From rediscovering muscles in your hips, to locating muscles you never realized you had in your belly, to connecting to the more subtle sensations that are constantly happening in your body that most of us have learned to tune out.
And so I use words, words into images and ideas, into concepts of sensations to help you move a different way. I use touch (if you’re good with it) to help you understand your place in space and how your body is capable of moving differently from what you’ve always done. I use the visual of my own body to demonstrate what a healthier style of movement looks like. If scent was useful, I would use that too.*
Yet, my job is not to take you somewhere.
I am a guide, not a taxi. I will do my utmost to show you the way. I will support you when it helps, challenge you when you need it. Yet I cannot do the work for you. In the end, it is you and your body that is on this journey of transformation.
I will use everything I know to help you travel the road. I will point out the pitfalls and celebrate the victories. I will ground you in the knowledge of how your body works to make your journey as informed as possible. I will work through my own body to guide yours to a deeper and greater level of personal understanding.
I do this because I want to empower you.
I want you to feel your own strength. I want you to do things you never thought you could. I want you to discover that you can feel stronger and healthier than you ever have before. I want you to rediscover physical joy in your body. Then you can take that joy into every moment of your life.
Life is for living, as fully and satisfyingly as possible.
Our Pilates journey is about making our lives more satisfied, to live them with more grace, celebration, health. And I am a guide upon your journey, helping you to get there sooner, more authentically, especially into those places you never thought you could reach or didn’t even know existed.
(A fen near Maple Ridge, British Columbia. Photo by Violet Redekop. We can only glimpse at what the horizon offers us if we take the journey. That glimpse, that promise, that lures me to take that walk. And it was beautiful.)
To those I teach now, thank you for the honour and privilege of being your guide. For those I teach in the future, I look forward to learning what your particular journey entails and helping you overcome the inevitable obstacles and setbacks and then challenging you to go farther than you dreamed.
You may not see it or hear it, but every day I celebrate the work that you do to improve yourself, to change, to become healthier, more uniformly developed, centred within yourself.
*Now I’m wondering how I can use scent in the workout. It probably won’t happen in case of sensitivities, but I can see how the right essential oil could help, in memory retention, invigoration, relaxation. Hmmmmm……