This is How I Create Magic

Magic is simply an event of illuminating surprise. Afca Dawa

Have you wondered how magic is created in the Bodyhood Pilates studio? To be specific, How would I get clients with an unstable and hypermobile sway or lower back to organize their nervous system so they are able to perform the Knee Stretches or the Elephant on the reformer successfully? How to get them to move their knees to and from without changing or moving the position of their pelvis and back?

The first thing I do is to get my clients to turn off their defence system of fight, flight and freeze in order to turn on their social engagement system of seeing, listening and smiling. The second thing I do is I map out how my clients’ nervous system works. If I can get the key to their nervous system, then I can develop a strategy, which will help them improve and eventually create the change they are looking for.

I make sure that they are in the desired position on the reformer: on their knees with a round back and the arms extended forward with their hands resting on the bar. Then I ask them to slowly and even-handedly lift both hands off the bar. In this position - hands off the bar, I ask them to shift the carriage with their knees to and from with a minimum effort - just enough to feel the vibration of the carriage. Then I ask them to do the same movement without holding the bar with an arched back.

knee stretch pop_0.jpg knee stretch pop 5_0.jpg

While following these instructions, my clients with unstable and hypermobile backs will suddenly experience a shift in the workings of their nervous system - the moment of illuminating surprise! The result is that they will change from a state governed by a faulty habitual pattern of action to a position regulated by a functional reflexive pattern of action. We can spot this new functionality because it is signified by an elongation, an uplift and a concerted effort of the deep muscle corset system (DMCS) and the shoulder girdle stabilizers. In this position, they will feel like a tree and a bird at the same time. 

Now is the time for my clients to take a mental photograph of this new experience in their nervous system so that they can hold that feeling in their body. Then I ask them to place the hands on the bar to now move the carriage to and fro with their knees; first with a rounded and then with an arched back.

knee stretch pop 3_0.jpg knee stretch pop 4_0.jpg

Voilá! In this short space of time, they have progressed from a dysfunctional to a functional back. By the way, the same procedure can be applied to the Elephant exercise with a similar result. So, now that I have unlocked these clients’ nervous system, they are able to perform the Knee Stretches and the Elephant without being at the mercy of their unstable and hypermobile backs or faulty habitual patterns. Isn’t it beautiful, this synergy between thinking, feeling and doing!

Try it and fly with it!