They used to call me “bird-mama” when I worked at the animal hospital.  Yep, that’s right. In another lifetime, I was a vet tech!  #funfact I would often be the person to take in the baby birds who were brought into the hospital after falling out of the nest.  I’d keep them going by feeding them with a tiny dropper and when they were strong enough, I’d take the commuter rail from the city to the suburbs to transition them to the bird sanctuary.  At one point in time, I owned two finches.  Then two turned into twelve and the bird sanctuary asked me to stop coming by so often…. Also, the train was getting expensive!

Needless to say, I have this love for the “flyers” that keeps my eyes focused upwards most days.  If there’s a birdwatching event, I’m in and I can name way more species then is necessary for a functioning adult.  What does this have to do with Pilates? Well, similar to birds, I also have a love for metaphors.  Recently, during a deep meditation session, I kept hearing the words “flight patterns.”  Curious, I turned to the “goog” to learn more.  What I found was a compilation of the perfect metaphors for the journey that is teaching movement.  Enjoy!


Direct Flight

For the birds: To fly in a straight and level path while continuously flapping their wings.

For the teachers: The state of busy flow.  You know what you’re teaching a

#2. Flap and Glide – To ake a break from flapping your wings by soaring and gliding.  Wehn

#3. Glide – Swifts and swallows glide in order to travel a distance without flapping.

#4. Hawking – This techniques refers to flying out and up from a perch, then back again in a circular motion. This is used by flycatchers and warblers to hunt for insects “on the wing”.

#5. Hovering – The bird appears as if hovering in place. Hummingbirds can do this at will because of a unique flexible shoulder joint that enables the bird to create lift during the up and down stroke. Other birds, such as kestrels, kingfishers and Storm-Petrels can hover briefly by flying into the wind.

#6. Static Soaring – Hawks and vultures fly in circles and soar on their long broad wings.

#7. Straight-line-formation – Pelicans, flamingoes, cormorants and some cranes fly in a straight line in formation while low over the water.

#8. Undulating flight – This describes a kind of rollercoaster style where the bird flaps its wings during the rising phase, then glides as it descends into the valley of the wave. Woodpeckers and finches can be seen using this style of flight.

#9. V Formation – This is probably the most recognizable pattern, used by migratory birds such as geese, ducks and swans. The flock is arranged in a V pattern, each bird slightly higher than the other to take advantage of the lift that is generated by the wingtip vortex of the bird in front of it. The lead bird and outside positions of the formation are the most physically difficult, so the flock members take turns at these positions to help conserve energy.

#10. Zigzag – Snipes and grouse fly up and down in a somewhat triangular path. This is can be seen when a bird is flushed and is trying to elude predators.

Related Posts