The Art of the Body II

Regular visitors to the website will know that EP HQ is very interested in how the human body influences art.  A trip last weekend to Tate Modern’s stunning new extension, the Switch House provided some great examples.  The Artist Rooms are currently devoted to the work of Louise Bourgeois, who explored the theme of the human body regularly in her art.

Here are a couple of her pieces hanging in one of the Artist Rooms…

Louise Bourgeois body parts Tate Modern Artists Rooms

Another of the galleries in The Switch House currently features a retrospective of Rebecca Horn’s work, an artist who often incorporates the human body in her sculptures…

Rebecca Horn Body Sculpture

This weekend I came across a dance piece, bODY rEMIX gOLDBERG vARIATIONS by the controversial Canadian choreographer, Marie Chouinard.  Included in the work are dancers using various devices normally associated with physical disability, e.g. crutches, prostheses, to extend their bodies and create unusual shapes and movements.  The result is surprisingly beautiful…

Body Remix by Marie Chouinard

Another recent mini adventure, this time to The Eden Project in late June to see P J Harvey, I came across this sign which, if I was wearing a bigger coat, I would have nicked so I could bring it back and hang it on the Pilates studio door…

Sign for The Core at the Eden Project

Finally, here’s Polly Jean herself performing in all her glory at this year’s Glastonbury, a couple of days before I saw her Eden Session gig.  Unlike Pilton, we had wall-to-wall sunshine…ha!  Take that, Glasto!

Note: I would KILL for PJ’s hat…assuming no birds were harmed in the making of it of course…

 

 

 

 

How Often Should You Do Pilates?

Flying side plank

I’m often asked by clients how often they should do Pilates to see the benefits.  Once a week?  Twice?  Every day?  The founder, Joseph Pilates recommended doing at least ten minutes every day.  I agree.  I encourage people who come along to class to take away with them one or two exercises their bodies responded particularly well to in the session, to do at home for themselves in between classes.

Although I teach Pilates six days a week, I still make time each day at home to do the exercises I need to do to ensure my body moves as well as possible.  The benefits I get from doing Pilates daily are obvious to me; I can tell from the range of movement I’m able to do and from how it feels when I move.

If you’re wondering if it’s safe and beneficial to do Pilates every day, here’s a useful article which considers how adaptable Pilates is to being done on a daily basis, and the importance of doing the correct balance of Pilates exercises.

The key points from the article are highlighted below:

  • Pilates exercises emphasize things like awareness, functional alignment, breath, and co-ordination. This multi-dimensional approach gives us the opportunity to shift the focus of our daily routine.
  • Joseph Pilates firmly believed that an exercise programme should be varied and that the way to maximize the effect of each move is doing it with full attention, and with low repetitions. Based on this, the ideal Pilates session rotates between different muscle groups, shifts intensity levels, and balances our exercises in terms of flexion and extension within each workout, and in our daily workouts over time. Repeating the same exercises every day could result in an unbalanced routine that becomes as boring as doing too many reps. Read the following quote from Joseph Pilates:

     

    ‘Contrology [Pilates as we call it now] is not a fatiguing system of dull, boring, abhorred exercises repeated daily ad-nauseam…..The only unchanging rules you must conscientiously obey are that you must always faithfully and without deviation follow the instructions accompanying the exercises and always keep your mind wholly concentrated on the purpose of the exercises as you perform them.’

     

  • Tune into yourself and adjust the focus of your exercise for any given day, based on how your body feels, e.g. your energy level, areas of discomfort etc. A good rhythm for doing a Pilates routine over time might be to do a physically challenging session one day, perhaps a group class, and follow up with a day or two at home doing a smaller number of exercises that are easier on the muscles.

Man doing Pilates

In conclusion then, Pilates can be done safely and effectively every day. The key is to vary the exercises in your routine, keep them targeted, and if a particular muscle group is challenged one day, moderate the work you do on this part of the body the next.

Pilates, the physical accompaniment to daily life.  P J Harvey, the musical accompaniment to my daily life, currently anyway.  Here’s a track from her recently released album, The Hope Six Demolition Project…