I see a rainbow reflecting in the soles of your feet, the colours floating through to the crown of your mouth where your breath is formed by lips so softly, as your diaphragm descends and the bowl of your pelvis responds with ease. A symbiotic dance as the air flows in and the body makes space by changing shape, the more you relax, the more you expand, an opening to the transcendence of natures purpose.
How many shapes do you see? The Pilates Teacher thought, eyes closed to the sun. Only one, over and over and over again. It’s painted by an artist with a soft pastel tone against a smooth surface, the most beautiful you have ever dreamed.
It’s the shape of human form. From the soles of our feet to the back of our knees, the same shape of our pelvic bowl. Do you see it again in the diaphragm? Of course it is everywhere.
I see it in the hollow of the elbow and under the arm, I see it within the flesh of the lips and the roof of the mouth, at the base of your skull and in between your fingers and toes.
But why is it so? Who knows? I see it with my own eyes and I feel it in my own flesh, the shapes of my body both inside and out is a circular reflection from my feet to the roof of my mouth.
The next day the Pilates Teacher was mentoring a student and sharing her observations.
“Do you see how there are arches or domes all the way through the body from the soles of the feet right up to the roof of the mouth?” The Teacher asked.
“Yeah, and?” Replied the student.
“… Just saying.” remarked the Teacher.
The student shrugged and walked away and the mentor stood there, sad for the student she wasn’t moved by the simplicity of form.
Was I always this way? Wondered the Teacher. Looking at the body from angles unusual to most?
So she queried her student some more.
“Do you ever wonder if those domes change shape when we lay down and our relationship to gravity changes?” She prodded.
“Nope” was the reply. And that was it, conversation over.
Well, they parted their ways, one feeling like the beauty of what she was trying to say would never be understood, the other wondering what the heck she was talking about. C’est la vie thought the Teacher, I can only share what I see. She will only learn what she’s ready for.
The student went home and thought nothing more of the conversation, or so she believed. Yet over the next few days, weeks and months she started to be aware of a beautiful shift in her perception towards the body.
She saw the celebratory shape in the round pregnant belly of her sister, and the hollow depth in the underarm of her husband. She heard the shrill shape in the crying of her baby niece and saw the soft curve of her own mothers knees. The round baldness of her father’s head made her smile in recognition, and the domes at the bottom of her feet looked so familiar. Everywhere on every body she saw the same yet unique shapes that made us all as one yet completely ourselves.
As she stood there in front of the mirror she could see the shapes in her own body that she saw in those around her. And she realised then what her Teacher was trying to show her.
She saw the celebratory shape in the round pregnant belly of her sister, and the hollow depth in the underarm of her husband. She heard the shrill shape in the crying of her baby niece and saw the soft curve of her own mothers knees.
She realised then that we are not anymore the same in mind as we are in physicality. Each of us has a unique perspective to the World, the same as we have a unique response to movement.
She no longer thought it strange to look at the body like art, finding similarities in the differences from head to toe, unmasking the anatomy to see just shapes and giving them nameless conversations not found in the textbooks she held in her hands.
The answers are never more important than the questions. When it comes to the body in movement, we are so unique that there is no one answer to every body. It is through learned intuition and a willingness to listen to the words unspoken that we are privy to the stories held deep within. The art of listening cannot be lectured on, nor examined for, but is a skill we develop over time. The most beautiful truths are whispered in the moments in between the movements where the curious mind explores ideas beyond the ideals.
The answers are never more important than the questions