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Re: Contrology practice: How Joe intended it?

Posted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 8:50 pm
by Javier
As an added note and mini explanation of the above:
Notice how in each roll up motion we delay the exhale until in Teaser you roll off totally inhaling and you only exhale on the way down.
One should try to switch naturally between inhaling and exhaling.

Roll Up
You exhale after the head is up.
You exhale after the head is up.
Roll_Up_Breathing.jpg (48.01 KiB) Viewed 1622 times
Neck Pull (the simple version -like on the book)
You inhale until the back is off (further than the Roll up)
You inhale until the back is off (further than the Roll up)
Neck_Pull_Breathing.jpg (42.27 KiB) Viewed 1622 times
You inhale the whole way up.
You inhale the whole way up.
Teaser_Breathing_2.jpg (34.78 KiB) Viewed 1622 times

Re: Contrology practice: How Joe intended it?

Posted: Wed Aug 19, 2020 3:36 pm
by Joao
Hi there!

Yes, as I said, I was too simplistic, messed up and didn’t told the whole story. Not every arching exercise I learned to do exhaling, as I explained to you. But not holding the breath was a bit new for me. Needless to say, I think all of your explanations makes sense!

By the way, that part of “inhaling like taking a line of coke, and not a long one” cracked me up! :lol:

Since we are having this discussion, I started studying more in the RTL book, and applied both the Joe’s guidelines and yours to my training. I don’t know if I’m coming up with the correct pattern every time (except on the mat, because the instructions are very detailed), but here is some impressions so far:

Exercises that requires maintaining the torso stabilized got REALLY better! Long Stretch with one spring and without spring felt like a breeze compared to doing it with a random breathing pattern. (I actually was holding my breath a lot, and not only in this exercise). Other exercise that really improved was Mermaid on the Wunda Chair, the version done on top. Inhaling while lowering the pedal made my torso SUPER lengthened, and I could lower the pedal much more. It was SO GOOD because it opened A LOT the sides of my body. Jackknife was another exercise that changed completely, my hips floated easily from the Mat, and the end position got really strong. And I didn’t faded out as I did the exercise, because I wasn't holding my breath like I used to.

Paying attention to my breathing made everything easier to do. After the training, I felt invigorated, but relaxed at the same time. My neck loosened up. The perceived exertion got down. And I shaved off 4-5 minutes off my advanced sequence on the Reformer. That was big. :D

I am trying to find out what is more natural to do, and honestly, I didn’t find it too difficult so far. That thing is really straightforward. I don’t know if it’s supposed to be that way, though..

Still, there are some exercises that I didn’t figured out, mostly those that have a faster pace.

Footwork: I still can’t find natural inhaling and exhaling on the same repetition. I found that inhaling and exhaling on a full rep is more natural;

Table Top on Wunda Chair: Coming up inhaling makes sense, but the pumping with the legs are obviously faster. I inhale/exhale every 5 pumps;

Those are the ones I remember…

About the V or not to V question: But the knees shouldn’t be opened just 2 inches wider th… Just kidding!

I learned just like you said, avoiding opening the knees wider than shoulders while in V position (like Footwork, Frog, Double Leg Stretch), and also avoiding opening the legs too wide when doing Spine Stretch, for example. Most of the exercises you exemplified I learned in parallel, excepting “Running”.

But it’s nice to see that it is not a rule written in stone. Rather, it seems to be a tool. But I can’t keep discussing too much about it without experimenting in my our own body.

Anyway, I thank you for explaining more of it! This thread has been eye-opening for me. It is always exciting knowing that there is a lot to see, learn and experiment.

Kind regards,

PS: Thank you VERY MUCH for those images, they are really cool and instructive! I’m amazed to see how complex are the intricacies of the exercises, but how simple are their instructions for proper execution. Joe didn’t left any stone unturned on his work…

Re: Contrology practice: How Joe intended it?

Posted: Wed Aug 19, 2020 8:57 pm
by Javier
Hello Joao,
There you go... simple, will cut it both ways.
Complications will arise as one tries the exercise. So the exercise doesn't need to be complicated.
It may take time but it won't be convoluted. In Pilates,it never is complicated. Simple is sophisticated: perfection without extras. Complicated is only impressive for the ignorants.
Doing the movements while breathing is plenty.

Sometimes you are going to find that coordinating the movements and the breathing may take a little longer. But it all works eventually.

One of the main benefits of a more natural breathing is a more natural flow in the movements. If you don't jerk one or the other you will find out how much energy you need to produce the exercise and stop using any extra that is needed when jerking about: it takes a lot of energy to freeze-restart-tense-release...
Usually, nowadays, people exert themselves too much during the workouts due to the unnecessary tension they are carrying during it. They sweat because they are tense. And often they are tense because of a gazillion stupid rules that they have included along the exercises which sometimes take more 'space' than the exercises themselves. It is very hard for the exercises to 'get' you when you are so busy and electrified.

Table on the Wunda is not really an original. I am rather tall and don't really fit: it hardly looks like a Table. It is really an exercise for small people. But when the pumping is fast don't count the breathing. Just breathe naturally along.

Footwork: depends, again, on the speed, but Romana used to tell that Joseph could show off and do 10 reps on one breath...
Then knees in the 1st Footwork ( Feet and knees) can be as wide as you want. Talking about parallel, the next 3 (Arches, Heels and Toes) are 100% parallel, for someone with average shaped legs, of course.
Frog on Floor on Wunda or 3 count Frog on the Table: as wide as you can. And many others.

Basically the Moon boxes on the mat show how wide the average positions are. Simple. Unless the moon boxes where made for an ashtray and drinks... I find it incredible that people still want to argue that in Spine Stretch Forwards you open 2 inches wider than the shoulder...
The Moon boxes show clearly the opening of the legs.
The Moon boxes show clearly the opening of the legs.
Moonboxes-01-.jpg (193.82 KiB) Viewed 1597 times
And, of course, that would be the same opening -at least, if not more- in the exercise that follows it: OPEN Leg Rocker.
If you notice, it is more or less the opening for the Horseback, which I may add, Joseph does even in the Bed!

Again, kind of right angles between the legs, but not explicitly so.
Again, kind of right angles between the legs, but not explicitly so.
Open leg-01-.jpg (140.26 KiB) Viewed 1597 times
Before picking them up.
Before picking them up.
Open leg-02-.jpg (141.82 KiB) Viewed 1597 times
It makes perfect sense: we want people to get more flexible, in which 'flexible' world would one stop a person from improving and stretching further?

Have fun!!!