Pilates and Personal Responsibility

“An exercise does not jump out of a box and bite you in the ass.”

~ Lizz Roman (SF-based, Pilates mentor/teacher extraordinaire)

Not sure if I worded it exactly as she did, but Lizz Roman’s voice is what I try to invoke in those moments when I try to justify not doing certain exercises because “they are too hard” or because “they hurt me.”

Don’t worry, this is not a “no-pain, no-gain” apologetics diatribe, but merely owning up to the fact that I can’t blame the exercise for the pain. Because, in fact, that Teaser did not jump out of  a box and bite me in the ass hip flexors. Even if it felt like it did.

So, where does that leave me? It is my fault that I (often) hate doing Teasers? Am I to blame for having over-active quads? I mean, after all I am a Certified Pilates Instructor. Shouldn’t I have mastered this quintessential Pilates exercise? (If your not sure what a Teaser is, check out this video;)

That’s one way of looking at it.

But, it’s certainly not going to make my hips feel any better in a Teaser.

Thankfully, there is another way.

It is not my fault, but rather my responsibility. Responseability. My ability to respond. To listen to my body, and gauge where I need more control and where I need to let go.  Back to an innate and effortless way of moving. To scale back to the most fundamental level and gradually, gracefully move forward.


p.s. This post was in large part inspired by the wise and supremely generous Rebecca Leone and her amazing Vimeo channel! I haven’t studied with her in person yet, but I hope to soon.

p.p.s. I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave your comments below.


Injuries and egos, or how I learned to back off without giving up.

It was about 5 chaturangas in. Even though it was early in class my triceps were already screaming. Lately, I’ve been able to hold this pose nice and low and strong. Thursday was an exception and my while my body was trying to tell me, I refused to heed. I was taking my plank to the floor when I felt fiery twinge in my right shoulder. It happened fast, but I knew immediately that I had gone a bit too far and my posterior deltoid was paying the price. Continue reading