interview with Laura Browning Grant
A flowing Pilates workout always reminds me of a perfectly orchestrated symphony played by your body. Every move flows into the next one, every muscle plays its own part in this beautiful masterpiece.
Oftentimes in our attempt to dissect and find the reason behind each movement we lose the big picture of using body as a whole. That’s exactly what Laura Browning Grant confesses of during her training with Lolita San Miguel.
Soon she realized that going back to the roots of Pilates and taking the time to absorb the method was the best way to tap into the power of Pilates for her own practice and teaching skills.
Today Laura, a Pilates teacher from Raleigh, NC and a Lolita San Miguel Master Mentor Program graduate and educator, shares her experience about going through Lolita’s Legacy program as well as her ways of fine-tuning Pilates movements for the ultimate performance.
1. How did master program with Lolita San Miguel change the way you teach and practice Pilates?
Lolita San Miguel’s Master Mentor program changed my teaching and practice, but also me as a person. Lolita has a gift of bringing out the best in you as a teacher and person. She challenges you on multiple levels including physically and mentally. Lolita can take non-movers and transform them into beautiful movers.
2. What is the most important thing that you learned from Lolita?
One thing that I am not shy to share is the fact that Lolita almost kicked me out of her program due to my eagerness and energy. But, that breaking point was the best thing that ever happened to me. After the fact, I realized that Lolita had a purpose for challenging me at that point. I am grateful for the challenge and worked hard to achieve the goals she had set for me. I am thankful I had an opportunity to work with and learn from Lolita and I believe she has impacted my life beyond words.
My purpose for sharing this information is to touch the lives of individuals pursuing a Pilates certification. If you are like me and are over eager and high energy, take it back a notch, listen and absorb. If someone during Joe’s time asked what the purpose of a move was he would respond- good for the body. That’s a powerful statement especially in today’s world with so many variations of Pilates Certifications. I believe that less focus needs to be on isolating muscles and using exercises to target only a specific area and, instead, view each exercise as a full body integration creating a body that works as one.
3. Is there a reason to “modernize” the Pilates method?
This is a very hard question to answer honestly without offending others. But, I am going to answer this honestly based on my personal experience with various Pilates certification programs.
Why change what Joseph Pilates created? Go back and study the true work of The Pilates Method created by Joseph Pilates. He had meaning to every dimension of the apparatus he created. Joe had a reason why the exercises were performed in a certain order. He changed lives during his time. So why change what the genius Joseph Pilates created? So how do I go back to what he created and truly study his work? Read his books- “Return to Life” and “Your Health” (aff)
Study with the elders and their disciples. The Pilates Method was not created to simply create a long lean body; the movements are specifically designed to correct imbalances in both your mental and physical state bringing out the best in an individual.
“The central element of the Pilates Method is also its most paradoxical. The method’s goal (beyond slimming and strengthening) is to create fusion of mind and body, so that without thinking about it you will move with economy, grace, and balance; you will hold yourself regally; and you will use your body to the great advantage, making the most of it strengths, counteracting it weaknesses, and correcting its imbalances. The paradox is this: to produce an attention-free union of mind and body, the method requires that you constantly pay attention to your body while you are doing the movements. This attention-paying is so vital that it is more important than any other single aspect of the movements or the method.”
4. Can you share with us an example of “fine-tuning” a Pilates exercise?
Coordination on the reformer
Key Fine Tuning Points
Breath: Long deep inhale as the leg extend continue with the inhale- open close- long deep exhale wringing out all the air like (like a wet towel) as the body returns into a tight ball.
Focus on the return: drag the legs back in first from the core, then the elbows bend while the forehead (from the powerhouse) come together closer to the knees.
Two Way Stretch: (every move in Pilates should be a two way stretch- master the double leg stretch)
As the legs extend the body lengthens creating what I call a “boat shape” in the body- the legs are an extension of the powerhouse- so avoid breaking at the hips.
The Stretch: On the return- bring the forehead and knees closer to one another. This allows the back line of the body to open creating mobility for rolling like a ball.
Powerhouse: this exercise comes from the powerhouse just like all movements in Pilates. So focus on the precision of the movement and your individual range of motion. Quality of quantity.
Key Point: use the body as one- creating a strong, supple foundation to carry with you daily!
Photo credit – Pilates Flow @2nd
What can we expect to learn from your upcoming workshop “Pilates Fine Tuning”? Who is it for and how can it improve one’s practice or teaching?
Pilates Fine Tuning workshop is for those that take Pilates, teach Pilates, and anyone that wants to connect on a deeper level. Honestly, this workshop is beneficial for people of all physical and mental well-being. During the workshop I go back to the roots of the work teaching the participants the Pilates Method as Joseph Pilates intended. Unlike other programs, I teach the core exercises instead of variations and modifications. In the class, we focus on proper execution of these core exercises in order to achieve maximum results as intended by Joseph Pilates.
The workshop will take place on June 28th in Raleigh, NC. To get more details or register please click here.
“Study carefully. Do not sacrifice knowledge to speed in building your solid exercise regime on the foundation of Contrology. Follow instructors exactly as indicated down to the very smallest detail. There IS a reason.”
~Joseph Pilates, ‘Return to Life through Contrology’