Body lessons from Pilates (contrology)


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Photocredits from NYC dance project

Recently I started with a Pilates Kinetic precision course. For some of you it might be strange because many Christians are scared of even trying the exercise because it is often combined with idolatrous philosophies by the people presenting it. Pilates as an exercise and physical training method, was born out of need.  Joseph Pilates was born in 1880 and was a sickly child that determined to make himself strong.  He lived as a German immigrant in the UK. He started body building and he looked so good that he was used as a model for anatomical drawings in his teen years.  Quoting from http;//pilatesofrye.com/wounded-warriors-pilates-for-veteran-soldiers/: ‘However, not all people know that when Joseph developed his now popular regimen, he was in an internment camp in Great Britain as a German citizen. Rather than be bitter about his experience during the war-torn years, Joseph worked diligently as a fitness teacher and nurse. During his time in internment, he developed and refined his methods, calling his system ‘Contrology’. As wounded soldiers arrived from battle lines, he applied his methods to strengthening and reconditioning them.
Today many projects exist which use Pilates to help veterans with injuries – including many who suffered amputation of one or more limbs.’

After the war he returned to Germany and worked with Rudolp Laban who created the basic system of dance notation that is still used today. Quoting from the page Pilates Central: “Pilates called his technique ‘contrology’ – only later did it become known by his own surname.  He conceived it as a mental as well as physical conditioning in which individuals could work their bodies to their full potential.  In explaining Contrology’s guiding principle, he liked to quote Schiller: ‘It is the mind itself which builds the body’.

The reason I took the time to give a summary of the history, is to help people realize that it has good roots and all exercises are specifically there to develop conscious mind-body control of our muscles. We as sons of the most High are here to redeem all things unto Him.

As believers we can learn so much from ‘contrology’ if we apply it to the body of Christ.  If I can summarize from what I have learned already, it is to remind the muscles that they belong to a head and that they have a specific job to do.  If every muscle doesn’t do its job properly, the other muscles around them take over and eventually our joints and back starts to take unnecessarily wear and tear.

In the body of Christ we have a Head. The Head knows all the muscles are there, but it seems that sometimes the muscles forget their place and function and that they belong to the head. This pulls the whole body out of alignment. So to summarize all in a few words: ‘contrology’ is about restoring the mind-body connection to bring all the parts back into alignment.’

We sometimes forget to Whom we belong. When we forget that, we start to forget our function and either overcompensate because we want to proof that we are competent, or we give up. In the process our whole life is pulled out of alignment. Unfortunately it is not just our life that is pulled off balance, but that of the whole body around us.  If we overcompensate we tend to become control freaks and want to make other people’s choices for them. We often don’t even realize that we are doing it.  On the other hand, if we give up we force other parts of the body to overcompensate which causes misalignment.

When there is an injury to a part of the body, the other parts take over the function of that part until it recovers. There are 2 ways in which that happens as well.  Life is a choice.  Death is our default without Yeshua. The one way is to close in and protect the hurting part and take over it’s job – that is going with the default.  The other way is to open up, and work from the core or stabilizer muscles to gently restore that member to full function again. If there is nerve damage however the message don’t get through to the brain that a part of the body is in jeopardy because the connection to the head and the rest of the body has been cut off. Isolation from the body causes gangrene and causes the members to fall off witout the other members even noticing until they have to do the work without that member. Much like leprosy.

To give you an example.  If one has a neck injury, the automatic response to ‘protect’ the neck is to pull up your shoulders to the ears, which causes misalignment all the way down. That causes neck and back spasms and eventually lower back pain because one tends to sit forward with one’s shoulders.  This also causes one to look more ‘abusable’ to the world outside.  The moment you choose life by relaxing the shoulders and start to sit and walk upright one does not look ‘abusable’ anymore and the neck muscles can start to relax.

When every muscle and member is awakened to its function and does its job properly the body comes into alignment and every member can grow into its full potential.  When all the members are awakened by choosing life, and an injury occur they will automatically do what they are supposed to do to gently bring the broken member to its full potential again. 

Lets ask the Father of Life to give us the Spirit of wisdom to awaken the body of Christ so she can come into alignment again so she can dance again.

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