Patience and Persistence
Classical Pilates is an exercise method that utilizes various apparatus, which enable one to acquire exercise skills, according to a person’s movement ability, body uniqueness and overall commitment to the method. It demands that you work within the system, first and foremost, in order to fully comprehend the totality of the original method. The level of comprehension will depend on many factors, such as age, previous training, life events and instructor’s knowledge.
Two critical factors, patience and persistence definitely can enhance your learning possibilities. This means you must go against the grain of a nation hard-wired to a quick fix. Joseph Pilates took decades of teaching and tinkering to perfect his system. His studio opened in New York City in the 1930’s and “Return to Life: The Art of Contrology” was published in 1945.
After Joe’s death in 1967 his wife Clara continued on the teaching followed then by his protégé Romana Kryzanowska. Romana and Sean Gallagher were the first to begin a certification program based on the original method. Bob Liekens was one of the first teacher trainers in this program from Sean and Romana.
I mention these names and the lineage because there is a lot of “stuff” being called Pilates at the moment. Individuals claim to be a second or third generation teacher but in fact have not done a full comprehensive certification program. If you look closely at various bios they may state studied with or trained by, you have to dig deeper in order to see if they really graduated from a Classical teacher-training program.
Just to be clear a comprehensive program requires apprentice hours, self-study and ongoing lessons with an experienced teacher. In addition, classical has become the “word du jour” in advertising thus read the fine print.
OK back to patience and persistence!
Knowledge is acquired through persistent practice. In the realm of movement this requires consistent exploration of the vocabulary and material, like learning a language. Think for a minute like a dancer every day you take class, every day you do similar movements, like pliés, legwork, jumps etc. over and over again. You strive to learn the minutia of each and every movement. This is how you learn to dance; you repeat, practice, repeat and practice till you are ready to end your career.
If you want to learn a specific exercise method the same kind of thinking must apply. In addition, Pilates is a practice not a performance. You learn and study the method to enhance daily life not to stand up on stage. As life has daily commitments so must the training of the body if you want it to function for you regularly and consistently.
This is very different from a “fix it” mentality that resembles our current US sick care system. Wait till things are broken and try to repair it. Better to keep it in running and working order thus avoiding the need to fix it. Understanding of course things can happen but when one’s baseline is strong you can manage those incidents with greater efficiency and recovery.
Patience means you are willing to take time to investigate the method. In the acquisition of skills it is never a straight line. Think about learning a new language. I use myself as an example in this case.
The first two years of living in the Netherlands and studying the Dutch language were challenging. First I learned a few words then slowly started making some sentences and then finally putting it all together. Certain conversations especially those face to face would go well and then others less, like someone talking fast on the telephone. It was a stop and start process that moved forward slowly.
It was also demanding because the Dutch love to show you how well they speak English so I had to insist on speaking Dutch. Thus, fight for it a bit. This is exactly how it goes with Pilates. You have to yourself put some skin in the game. You have to want to learn the real method and come with an attitude of learning takes time.
On the plus side when learning takes time you lay a strong foundation. Back to my language, while my Dutch isn’t perfect, it’s pretty darn good. This has a lot to do with taking a few years to set a solid foundation and ongoing, never-ending practice, patience and persistence.
What can help keep the motivation level up to persist?
- Take time to recall from where you began
- Take class regularly in person with a hands-on teacher
- Notice activities where you use your Pilates in daily life
- Appreciate the journey past, present and future
“PATIENCE and PERSISTANCE are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor.”
Joseph H. Pilates