Movement Theory: Weight Sensing understanding gravity in Pilates

Running on the Merrithew Arc Barrel with Fascia Tactile Cuing

Do you teach “weight sensing” in your Pilates sessions? ( a movement theory term from Bartenieff and Laban)

Some of my favorite cues for Pilates are about WHERE the body meets gravity:
* in your feet when standing
* in your spine as you are in the hundred
* in your hands and feet in a plank
* on your stomach and pelvis in extension

Weight sensing is proprioception, it gives the client “external anchors points” (Madeline Black’s Lecture 4/30/20 lecture) to find themselves in space and then create energetic efforts around those points. Being in relationship to the space brings presence into the moment and sense of grounding into the earth.

If we can cue very specifically for where the weight of the body is interacting with gravity and the effort that needs to work with or against gravity, it will help the clients find deeper connections to the fascia system.

The internal anchor of the deep front line of fascia connects to the body to the three dimensional core from the inner thighs through the pelvis bowl, waist, under the ribs, through the neck to the skull. This connection is deepened when the bones are in alignment (each person’s alignment is individual).

The energetic of how to connect the body is the use of EFFORT. Different Pilates exercises require different types of effort. Some exercises are about a push and pull ( Mat: Roll UP), some are sustained reaches with quick dabs (Mat: Hundred), some exercises have a rebounding energy (Mat: Double Leg Stretch).

The depth of the Pilates work is in the what is the movement pattern, where does the body connect with gravity & how does the client find the uplift and of the myofascia (muscle and fascia) system.

Exercise Example:
Running on the Arc Barrel (options: to use a 2 x 4 or the Merrithew Platform Extender, base of the chair)

Set Up: Start on the Apex of the Barrel, ground the feet, feel all five toes connect to the arc , stand tall, use the tower or wall for balance support (Rebecca demonstrating an Advanced version focusing on balance)

Action: Feel the lift of the deep front line of fascia. The movement pattern is the same as on the Reformer. Stand on you feet lengthen the spine up, find that neutral spine, ribs, and head placement. Lift one heel and bend as the other leg stays straight and long. Stay connected to both feet, notice how the sensation is very different. Front body on the bent knee in relieve and back body on the leg in the calf “stretch” position. This is about the connecting of the fascia from the feet and sensing the connection to gravity to strengthen the line- yes you will feel a calf stretch; however it’s not about the calf stretch.

I love helping teachers dive deeper into what they already know and go further. I have a fascia virtual workshop coming up in September. Email me or join my mailing list.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: