I’ve always had a sort of love/hate relationship with the wunda chair. Many of the movement pieces in the syllabus directly challenge my weakest areas. For a time, I avoided it like the plague, but like any necessary part of a practice, it just wouldn’t let me forget about it.
I swear that the chair would inch itself a few inches out of the placement I had put it in just to trip me up as I walked through the studio. As I worked on my QuickBooks, it would call my attention with a low “muah ha ahhhh,” with the pedal moving up and down and laughing menacingly.
Am I being dramatic? A little. However, the stories we create surrounding the aspects of the method that are difficult or uncomfortable for us can prove to create major obstacles within our practice. My teacher, Ron Fletcher used to say that “The body is like a recalcitrant little puppy – it will always follow the path of least resistance to get the job done.” Although avoiding the chair kept me away from my discomfort zone, it also kept me from experiencing growth. I needed to figure out a way to invite this aspect into my practice without overwhelming me. Enter in The Pilates Dating Game.
I recognized that the movement pieces that were most fulfilling to me were ones that I had spent a significant amount of time with. I had “met” them, “gotten to know” their personalities, in some cases, “fallen in love,” and was now experiencing a “long-term relationship.” Some were passing romances that I visited from time to time, like a sort of facebook-stalker – y’know, just to see how they had been doing, how many kids they had, etc….er, I digress…
Accepting new information into your body through challenges can be a daunting task. I recognized that in order for me to improve my relationship with the chair, I needed to treat it like a relationship. Thus, the dating game began. Below is the process that I used to create a relationship with the chair and get to know new movement pieces. I hope this offers you a creative and inspiring way to look at future movement challenges and possibly even help strengthen your current relationships with movement.
Getting to Know You
This phase is simple. I ask the question: “Who are you and what do you do?” I have no need to truly know any more than that. Being non-judgmental with movement lets me experience the piece from a beginner’s mind. There’s no need to qualify if it’s good or bad or if I like it or not. I simply have the experience. This also lets my brain calm down with its need to categorize and Just. Be.
The Second, Third, Fourth Date and so on…
This phase is where I investigate further. What do I bring to the table that might be attractive to this piece? What does it bring to me? Do we have similar goals? Will it get along with the rest of my movement practice “family?” This phase can last for as long as I need it to, with some pieces remaining here indefinitely. The point is to investigate the value of the movement and how I want it to show up in my life.
Head Over Heels / The Long-Term Relationship
This is the phase where I acknowledge that this piece is a necessary part of my movement practice. It will show up, right on time to help me out when I’m in a jam, soothe my woes and offer me unconditional support. We’ve been through some stuff together, and we’ve both decided that this is the real deal.
Better Off Friends
Perhaps it’s because we don’t really share goals or values. Perhaps the piece triggers me in ways I’m not willing to explore. This phase is reserved for movement pieces that I may revisit from time to time, but don’t regularly engage with. It’s nice to see them and it’s also nice to see them leave.
Where are you in the Pilates Dating Game? What pieces are your true loves and which are simply a passing fling? Share in the comments below. I can’t wait to read your responses!