Monday, January 08, 2007

Connect

After Saturday's class, I decided to get out my Pilates DVD to try to get my core back in shape. I've done it Sunday and just now (Monday).

At one point, the instructor says "Have your hand on your inner thigh muscles. These are the muscles we're trying to connect."

That idea--that Pilates tries to "connect" muscles--helped me understand what is going on with my general weakness now the ballet studio has been closed for winter break.

In ballet, we operate under the assumption that all our muscles are connected to one another through the core. The core is the abdominal area--abs, back muscles, lats. If our core is not strong and connected to our other muscles, then it doesn't matter how strong the rest of our muscles are. We won't be able to do what needs to be done in ballet: balance, turn, move lightly and strongly, lift legs and arms.

"Every movement originates here," one ballet teacher says, pointing to her abdomen.

Although I've been exercising regularly since ballet let out, I have been missing the killer "core" training I get in ballet! So my legs and arms are strong, but they're not CONNECTED through my core. I think that's why I can't break boards. I can only break boards if the power of my kick is CONNECTED to my body weight. And probably also to the strength in the rest of my body.

(I imagine this core strength is especially important with small people.)

In TKD, we say that every movement originates from our abdomen as well--some teachers say "It should come from your belt" I love this metaphorical way of explaining TKD movements: they literally come from your core--abdomen--which should get stronger as you progress through your belts. We also learn to think with our core--to listen to the "gut feelings" we have. I've read somewhere that there is some connection between intuition and your actual gut.

At any rate, I already feel stronger since starting with the Pilates DVD. I think I have a naturally weak core. Maybe because of my hyperextended knees, which lead to naturally bad posture. But I also have a very responsive core: it doesn't take much to make it strong again.

Still I'm looking forward to ballet starting next week. It's way more fun than Pilates.

1 comment:

Justin Wasson said...

I've been thinking lately that after the test this February you might need to change the sub-title of this blog. Just a thought!