The Quest For Answers

I was told ‘Pilates is a safe and efficient exercise’ on day one of the instructor course. Having benefitted from Pilates first hand, of course I have no doubt about it, after all, it plays a part in helping me live pain free and improve the quality of my life.

Then I was taught there are 5 biomechanical basic principles that serve as the foundation for the Pilates repertoire. The Stott Pilates 5 Basic Principles (5BP):
1. work together as one
2. promotes mindful movement
3. enhances awareness on body alignment for optimal neuromuscular performance

These stuff sounded a mouthful and were a blur for me at that time. We were told that we need to know them well for it’s an important part of the Pilates exam. But being the kind of person who refused to memorize math formula but questioned how did the great mathematician come out with such complex formula and why did they do that, I started to wonder: are there exercises that are not safe and efficient? Why these 5 biomechanical principles? What makes them so special and important that we need to have a segment on 5BP in our practical exam?

As the course progresses, our attention shift more to the repertoire, mainly choreography – executing the movement right – that’s what we Pilates junkies are obsessed with right?  Though I have to admit that Posture Analysis is another big component that blew me away and raised thousands of questions in my head.  After every course, there are usually more questions that need to be answered than before.  Somehow, this makes searching for answers really addictive and has become a highlight of my life and learning journey.

Then came the time when I met more fellow Pilates instructor trainees and enthusiasts and we were all practicing hard, learning what muscles were responsible for each move, polishing our cueing skills, curating our own imagery and visualization cues, cultivating our teaching energy and ‘palpating’ and analysing each other’s postures…and then there’s one super hum drum ‘go through the motion’ thing: memorising, reciting and reanacting the 5BP ‘drills’.

And this is when I realize that the 5BP has become meaningless for me and I can’t deal with having to memorize and do stuff that I can’t relate to.  So I started to question why and try to relate them.  I read about the late Joseph Pilates and his works,  googled human posture, shock absorption, breathing and anything that comes to my mind.  Somehow in life, answers don’t just fall onto your lap when you search for them, they come in many bits and pieces from many sources.  I thought I learn something, then I feel I know nothing, then I got confused, and frustrated.  Then I was told I was overthinking, and was advised to focus on the book.  Being the stubborn me, of course I won’t.

One day, as I was talking about the 5BP there was a voice in my head telling me ‘Hey hey, do you know what you just said? You answered your question!!’.  A jaw dropping moment, so shocked that I had to stop myself, thank God and whip out the phone and note what just came out from my mouth.  Truly lightbulb moment! I realise that the answer was there all along, but I couldn’t see it hence I couldn’t understand and piece it, of course it doesn’t make sense to me.  Then I want to know why I didn’t see it before…irritating right? Got your answers yet not satisfied, now I want to know why I don’t see the answers before.

Call me overthinker, stubborn, have nothing more important to worry or do in life or whatever, this is me.  I search for answers and I can’t stop.  I didn’t know why I behave like this but now I know, I know now searching for answer is a cycle –  there is no end. What you find will fuel your next quest. It’s like a game, after fighting the giants, you just level up, ready to fight the next one.

How much you want your answer is how much fire there is burning in your bones!  This is passion – it fuels you!


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