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Joseph Pilates contrology


Matt Hill

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I just finished reading a couple older books by Mr Pilates. What strongly worded and interesting reads.

The man was clearly very intelligent and has a sound grasp on bodily movement. There were a few affirming head nodding moments, a few thought provoking moment... yet In other places, I can't help but feel he is misguided (from my current perspective).

I'm wondering if anybody can save me some time and put the following in context for me:-

Pilates focusses on breathing in during flexion movements and breathing out during extension movements. This runs contrary to what I know about the diaphragm's effect on breathing and how other disciplines sequence movement (yoga for example).

Pilates noted expending the chest during inhalations and drawing the abdomen in. It seemed as though he didn't believe in breathing into the belly? I have always focused on the breath coming from the stomach predominately, sometimes moving into the chest (aka the yogic complete breath).

Pilates contends that the average human spine is deformed - "95% of every 100 persons examined are afflicted with an abnormal spine curvature". I can follow this train of thought, spinal deviations from norm are very rife in our western, sitting, culture... But the following part leaves me at a loss "  Anatomists are lead to the false conclusion that since so many have this curvature, that represents the ideal and therefore the normal condition of the human spine " and "the spine of every normal child is straight, the back is perfectly flat". It seems as though he is arguing against the existence of "natural" lordotic and kyphotic curves shown in the spine?

 

Many thanks 

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6 hours ago, Matt Hill said:

Pilates contends that the average human spine is deformed - "95% of every 100 persons examined are afflicted with an abnormal spine curvature". I can follow this train of thought, spinal deviations from norm are very rife in our western, sitting, culture... But the following part leaves me at a loss "  Anatomists are lead to the false conclusion that since so many have this curvature, that represents the ideal and therefore the normal condition of the human spine " and "the spine of every normal child is straight, the back is perfectly flat". It seems as though he is arguing against the existence of "natural" lordotic and kyphotic curves shown in the spine?

I don't know "the answer".  Nor do I truly believe that we can know "the answer".  All we have is theories and models.

But there was some excellent discussion on exactly this topic in a previous post/thread:

So much so, that I had it bookmarked in my email inbox just over two years ago.  I'd just never got around to opening it back up for further investigation/rabbit hole diving.

What is considered "normal" in modern western society, while maybe most common, is almost certainly not optimal.  For most of us - myself included - lack of HF mobility precludes us from discovering what optimal might be.

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