Written by Elaine Ewing
When I start a pilates workout on my Gratz equipment, I take a moment to settle into place before I start to move. And in that moment, my body and the shape of the equipment become one entity, two halves molding together to become one whole. Because, that’s what the apparatus is designed to do. From the shape of the shoulder blocks on the reformer to the curved edge of the Wunda Chair - each part of every piece of equipment is designed to hug the shapes of the body throughout all the exercises. And this is the genius of the equipment design. Always there, offering me answers throughout my practice.
Flying Eagle On The Cadillac | Something Moves By Elaine Ewing
Like the in and out of the springs, my mind and body begin to move together and the carriage follows. No parts or pieces are in control of the other. All elements work together to create the effortless power of doing pilates. It’s a song we’ve heard a million times, but at the same time, leaves room for improvisation. A balance of push and pull, control and stretch, inhaling and exhaling, knowing and not knowing. The springs keeping rhythm while a trio of mind, body, and equipment tests the limits to keep in balance together.
Swan On The Ladder Barrel | Something Moves By Elaine Ewing
Then there are the times when I’m not using springs for resistance and assistance, such as on the mat and the barrels. And here a different, but similar, trio of mind, body, and apparatus takes place. Both the mat and the barrels offer a surface on which to move. Flat, and curved.
And here is where I think of the full pilates system, and how each piece of apparatus works both separately and together to create a whole picture. The Reformers and Chairs using springs to guide the in and out movements of the exercises. The carriage, larger on the reformer and smaller on the wunda chair as the pedal, also moves to train alignment and teach control. The body parts that contact the surface of the carriage or chair, remain still. So, we have equipment moving with body parts touching down on the surface, still.
Down Stretch On The Reformer | Something Moves By Elaine Ewing
Then on the mat and the barrels, the opposite tends to happen. The entire entity of the apparatus is still. There are no springs, no moving carriages. Instead, the body and the apparatus have now switched roles. The body becomes the moving carriage, the mind creates the feel of springs. The spine moves in and out, along the stable surface of the apparatus.
The system of a fully equipped studio is a main element of why pilates works to strengthen the body and mind. Not only challenging the body physically, but also the mind to expand and become aware of the depth of possibilities of within what Joseph Pilates left us.
When I’m done with a workout, as I’m leaving the studio, I look back over my shoulder. It’s all still there, structures of metal and mats, springs and straps. It’s almost as if nothing even happened. And in a sense, that is the last piece of balance within the system. It can be both nothing and everything. A perfect balance of in and out, up and down, all and nothing. Because there it is, a room full of stillness. Where nothing happens, until something moves.
“Nothing happens until something moves,” - Albert Einstein
Rhinebeck Pilates is a classical pilates studio located in the center of Rhinebeck, NY, about 1.5 hours north of NYC. Fully equipped with Gratz apparatus, we offer private and small group classes taught by experienced teachers certified through NY Pilates Studio and Power Pilates. We are proud to offer consistently great continuing education workshops to teachers throughout the year on and ongoing basis.
6400 Montgomery Street, Rhinebeck, NY 12572
"A body free from nervous tension and fatigue is the ideal shelter provided by nature for housing a well balanced mind,
fully capable of successfully meeting all the complex problems of modern living."
- Joseph Pilates