What is your favourite Joe quote? And what does it mean to you?
There isn’t a day that I don’t come across at least one quote from Joe Pilates plastered on social media, on a studio wall, printed on a coffee mug, etc. The man is regularly quoted to inspire the population, to attract future clients, to describe a business mission, or to sell various merchandise items. There isn’t even a need to read any of Joe’s publications to find and use his astute citations. Google has that sorted for you with a plentiful selection of Joe’s quotes listed, ready to be used.
Joseph Pilates had a lot to say, and the quotations taken from his texts are insightful and can be provocative, especially when taken out of context or without the support of his writings. I read his books, pondered upon his words, smiled at some of the references he made, and marvelled at his society observations even back then. I did not agree with it all, but I found enough in his writing that resonated with me to embrace both the written and practical work: his methodology.
I rarely mention one of Joe’s quotes, possibly because they are everywhere these days. I gravitate towards Albert Einstein for my inspirational movement quotation. After all, movement is a science! However, I do have a couple of favourites, and the quote that resonates the most with me is the following:
“Change happens through movement, and movement heals”. JH Pilates
Yes, it does!
I observe change daily through movement, and I find this so inspiring. It can be a big or a little one; it can be mental, physical or both. It all counts. How often have you heard clients say that they feel lighter or taller when they finish a Pilates session? It isn’t because they stretched for the past hour. Have you ever noticed brighter facial expressions or livelier vocal tones after a session? It is because they moved. It might happen instantly or over time, and both are great. I recently observed a new client at the studio. She used to come and look so serious, hesitant, and rigid. She is now smiling, walking in and out of the place. She no longer looks hesitant or rigid, she has a certain confidence, and her body language has relaxed a lot. I have also observed how she is getting a little stronger each week. How wonderful is this? Her mind and body are changing. It is so exciting to watch such a transition. It warms my heart.
As for the healing part, I strongly believe that overall, society just needs to move more to heal its common aches and pains. Moving consciously and regularly is key. I don’t necessarily attribute the healing process solely to the Pilates Method. I credit most of it to movement, hopefully, the mindful kind. Isn’t it what Joe really wanted, to get people moving? The young, the old and everyone in between. He was so concerned about the lack of physical activity from the general population, even back then. I can’t imagine what he would think now!
How often have you heard clients complaining of low back stiffness, tightness in the neck, shoulder, etc., at the start of a session and by the end, they’ve completely forgotten about it? I like when my clients say: I feel my body; it feels good. All they did was show up and focus one hour on movement. Even clients with severe pathologies or neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s are encouraged to maintain certain levels of physical activity. It helps them; it won’t heal them physically but might maintain their spirits and helps them retain a certain amount of agility that would be lost otherwise.
Ever heard the saying, “You don’t use it, you lose it”? Well, I think it absolutely applies to movement. If you don’t move, you lose your ability to move, and you might miss a chance to make a change or heal the most natural way there is, through movement.
What is this good for? It’s good for the body! Ah, thank you, Joe!
Eve Fairbairn, PAA Committee Member
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