Breathing and the Hundred

Chat and questions regarding Pilates or the "Introduction to the work of Joseph H. Pilates"
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Breathing and the Hundred

Post by AlainG »

Hi Javier,
It is my first post on the forum.
Thank you very much for this opportunity.

I have several questions, some technical, some historical... and some mixed!
So, I probably will open different threads according to the subject.

Here, I´m curious about the breathing in the Hundred (I find it sometimes written in the plural: Hundreds).

Jerome Andrews, a "first generation teacher" (first, as a client at Joe´s studio since 1940, and at some point (?), teaching there (don´t know how much) until 1950, in parallel with his professional work as a modern dancer) has been a pioneer of Modern dance in France from the 1950´s to 1992, while pursuing his personal training (with a portable Reformer made by Joe, and also later adding the High chair made of pipes + the mat work).
Progressively, he has also presented the method to the dancers.

Jerome Andrews said that the goal of this emblematic exercise was to be able to make 100 arm pumps while exhaling on one initial inhalation...
Hence the name "The Hundred".
Very tough...
I don´t know if it is a personal interpretation of Jerome Andrews or if it is what he had been exactly taught by Joe Pilates.
But J. Andrews has credited Joe for this intense work on kind of apnea.

J. Andrews also said that he had been practicing yoga while in the USA.
So, he had experienced the apnea then, and had always continued to work with breathing work all his life.
I don´t know what came from Contrology and from pranayama, or/and from himself.

Another interesting point about him, not related to the Hundred, is how he used to instruct the movement:
- he used to say, in french, "y aller!": like "go there!".
A directional cue, but as well a volitional movement, a movement with a desirable purpose.
For him, the quality of movement was essentially in this imperative/inspirational sentence.

It sounds to me an indication of what you, Javier, comment about simplicity in Pilates method.
To be able to move from motivation, kind of goal-oriented with a quality of desire, aspiration.

As another side note, I´ve also heard some dancers evoking how J. Andrews could move his spine with such a control, a very delicate wave.

I ignore what relationship Joe Pilates and him had.
Jerome Andrews said that Joe asked him to stay for teaching in the studio.
I wonder if they had exchanged knowledge about yoga and pranayama...

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Re: Breathing and the Hundred

Post by Javier »

Hello Alain,
Very interesting story!!! And quite a different take on The Hundred!

Joseph was not as rigid with the method as people think. He allowed -and himself also created- variations and modifications. Either to allow someone to try an exercise that would be too difficult or to add variety.
However, and this applies to ANY kind of training, you must first learn A way in order to add something to it. Unless you know what you are doing a variation may not be a different way to get to the same place but a way to get to a totally different place all together.

The 'standard' breathing was 5/5 and there are many variations on it. You pump a Hundred times, hence the name. And yes, the exercise, however static it may seem, has direction, and most original teachers teach it that way. Nowadays the trainers yap away about core, shoulders, ribs and what not so there is no room for 'direction' when you are actively 'fixing' and 'fastening' the person.

As you pointed out, there is always motivation, desire and volition: we exercise the will as much as the body/brain. Again, usually drowned by other corrections and by the fact that we try not to confront the client with their lack of incentive.

There is ALWAYS a purpose in every movement: that is how we move in nature and that is what Pilates tries to reflect, natural, instinctive movement.

The Hundred (singular, because you only do one set of one hundred) is above all a warm up exercise. Using it to work or improve your apnoea is not for the common man and contradictory to the general idea of improving the breath in Pilates, and also in Yoga. Even in Yoga, you learn to hold your breath AFTER you learn how to breathe.

Going back to the counts/breath: if you pay attention to the clients it is easier for the to do what is consider advanced today (1 in 9 out) than the regular one (5 in 5 out): they will find it incredibly difficult to inhale for 5, yes, that is the part that is hard, the inhale. Much heavier in the diaphragm than exhaling, which gets a lot of assistance by the stomach. I personally insist on the client working up to the point where they are strong enough to inhale for 5. They do hate it, but it only makes them warm up more, which again is the point of the exercise.

Most people don't breath well. I wouldn't work on them holding the breath, in general, for a while, for many reasons: 1st and foremost they must learn that you move and breath, we only hold the breath when we hold a movement generally. Most people move badly because their movement and their breathing (whatever breathing) is not coordinated and if they are going to be able to do, say, the Star, they better flow and there is no better teacher of flow than your breath and there is no better teacher of breathing than movement. 2nd if we are working out oxygenation is very important. Apnoea (or apnea) is better trained quietly. Or to, put it another way, with a quiet mind. To get through the 100 in apnoea you will have to change the mindset of the exercise. While perfectly doable I don't see the point for the average person at the start of their routine. That brings me to the next point: if you are busy with surviving the exercise while holding your breath you are not going to perform the exercise very well unless you are extremely advanced in that respect. Holding the breath will break the rest, which means that now, one has lost the exercise that is supposed to start the warm up: the next exercises will pay for it. You will have undoubtedly created a lot of tension -which can be deceiving: for some it feels like warming up because tension makes them sweat which is not necessarily a result of muscles moving but tensing- and things like a Roll Up or Overhead are just that much more difficult because you are stiffer...

Some advanced variations amazing. Introduced too early they are dangerous and misleading.

In Pilates there were some very challenging breathing variations: like in the Reformer footwork, one does 5 to 10 reps just inhaling and the same exhaling. Romana would show us sometimes to point out that there are no limits, but one has to know at what point to introduce the challenges and not before the main challenges are covered, and we have restored health. Needless to say that she wouldn't share this with the average trainer which usually just adds it like another variation without the 'savoir faire' of when, why and with who does one use it. Like every exercise, every variation has a purpose, not just entertainment, or a show off.

Holding your breath for the duration of the Hundred while being able to perform the exercise well is certainly up there with the most advanced things. It is not a quiet hold. It is, nonetheless, a polar opposite of the general Pilates approach which often happens in the method, curiously enough, when you consider the very, very advanced exercises which for the same reason are not usually taught.

Joseph was inspired by many things and had a book collection that made his shelves bend under the weight. We can sit here and guess how much he used/borrowed/got inspired by other methods and obviously most of his mat exercises, if not all, were not created by him. Most of the deep excursions into other methods where you 'bend' the method towards another one were made by others after him. They need to go and research and add like Joseph did.

Usually, like J. Andrews, people learn things and end up with a body of knowledge where the particular sources are not as clear as the final result. That is the beauty of change and evolution. As long as one is achieving one's desired goal, all is good. How close to the original and how "correct" is a different matter. There is a time to learn something and a time to polish it.

My own take:
In genera, l I am like Joseph, I tend to favour the moment: what is the thing that I am trying to do and am I doing it? Am I doing the things that both help me, and also make it work?
In that fashion I rather do Yoga or Pilates and not mix them. Soup or salad... not together.

Thanks for your post!!!!
Enough rant for today...

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Re: Breathing and the Hundred

Post by AlainG »

Yes, Javier, your answer helps very much to clarify the purpose and the limits of this exercise!
By the way, I didn´t know the word spelled "apnoea".
very good to remind of the mindset of a particular exercise.
Be it Pilates or yoga.
As a warm up, simplicity is very necessary.
Oh!... simplicity for all the other steps as well!
I believe that as much as possible, any exercise should be performed with a paradoxical sense of relative ease into the effort.

As for the "quiet hold" thing, I´m beginning a series of digressions for the sake of practical distinctions.
You probably know the russian practice named "Systema", martial art and/or body-mind practice.
A common exercise is to play with breathing in scales:
- 5/5 to 1/9, and then, regressing to 5/5 to 9/1, then, progressively going back to 5/5.

So, duration of inhaling/exhaling phases alternates in the ascending and descending scales.
This breathing exercise is firstly done in a very quiet setting (lying, sitting, standing or walking), then in progressively more and more challenging situations, even with some adversity.
But the goal is precisely to remain as comfortable as possible under some pressure.

So now, here another digression (I´m kind of specialist) that I find very much instructive.
An anecdote relative to breathing, respiratory stress and "ease into the effort":
Kenji Tokitsu, a martial art adept has written about health problems that he had had at some point of his practice because of a certain exercise involving long holding of the breath.
To solve by himself some (serious) health problems due to this exercise, he had started playing with inhaling and exhaling according with his feeling, and as so, no more applying the strict instructions of strict "holding".
In this process, K. Tokitsu has discovered that he could subtly and very briefly inhale in-between long exhaling phases.
Then, he has realized that his master himself had always been doing exactly that... but instructing others differently!
Perhaps because the master was unaware that he was (almost) imperceptibly inhaling in-between.
Or, perhaps knowingly, he had decided to erroneously instruct (for some other reason not so honorable).
So, this anecdote confirms the dangers of interfering too much in the natural breathing.

I believe that a "breathing exercise" should not promote "bracing", even if the purpose is "holding the breath".
Jerome Andrews´s teaching (that we could name the "Andrews-Pilates" method) has always been a very discreet practice reserved to dancers from his own Dance Compagnie only, and so never as a large public teaching.
[That´s why Pilates method has remained very confidential in France until the end of the 19990´s and beginning of 2000]

Also, I suppose (only that!) that this version of the Hundred was not really meant as "holding" (neither with lungs full of air nor empty), but rather as a continuous exhaling, as long as possible (ideally to the count of 100!) bypassing the feeling that lungs were already empty.
So, the idea could have been not that of "holding", but going more and more deeper into exhaling with each pumping.
Nonetheless, I completely agree with you that it most probably would start "not so good" tensions for most people, even for well trained dancers!

As for your insight on breathing in repeatedly, (now, again a digression, the last one, that I hope for a good reason) it reminds me of a standing exercise in Aikido, where one is continuously breathing in while bouncing lightly on the balls of the feet, and for a rather long sequence before finally exhaling at the return of the whole feet flat on the ground.
Interestingly, the emphasis ot taht particular exercise is on the long inhaling phase of breathing.
And the motion of the whole body helps to inhale repeatedly at each bounce, like stretching up more and more.
However, and similarly to the example of K. Tokitsu, I suspect that in reality the flow of breathing is phased with very brief and subtle exhaling in-between much more obvious long inhaling sequence.
There is still some discordance between the official instructions and the real respiratory process.
And again, students that adhere too literally to the one-sided instructions may enter in some more or less respiratory stress.
My own take:
In genera, l I am like Joseph, I tend to favour the moment: what is the thing that I am trying to do and am I doing it? Am I doing the things that both help me, and also make it work?
In that fashion I rather do Yoga or Pilates and not mix them. Soup or salad... not together.
Because you have the knowledge to make clear distinctions.
And so, to set clear goals.
But it´s much more confusing for me, to know what is the one and the other, why and how.
At most, I observe, for example, that my martial practice has changed for much better after some time practicing exercises on the Pilates machines (I don´t say "after having practiced Pilates"; really, I still don´t know what is Pilates method. I have a guess at best).
And, even more, very recently, after having read your other posts and your site.
I´m starting to have a sense of direction.
So, thank you very much!!!

PS: I don´t know if the trajectory of Jerome Andrews is of interest for you. If so, I could post some informations on him. Let me know please the focus you prefer for the whole discussion.

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Re: Breathing and the Hundred

Post by Javier »

Very interesting examples. It is always nice to hear what it is possible and what people are able to do.

Most people have what we can call 'double-trouble': A. A stiff ribcage and B. A weak diaphragm (I mean a weak muscle)
Then some do breath fairly naturally and some others 'automatic pilot' is a bit faulty.

If a person tries a very advanced exercise under those conditions they will fail, and they will not necessarily understand why.
They may think that they need to 'learn' and 'understand' more about their body or the exercise. Or, worse, that the exercise is for a more 'gifted' person.
If they have patience and train and wait to improve in all areas they will realize that the WHOLE body had to improve because not only they had to 'open' and 'loosen' the chest, but they also had to create a body that doesn't cave in under pressure and that is so efficient that it perform a task just using the required effort.

A person who is not fit, not only lacks in 'fitness' but also their 'craft' is not so refine therefore they 'suffer' more while they work. That is why is so nice to be more advanced in anything: you don't have to exert yourself so much so not only is ligther but you have the space to enjoy and be what you are doing rather than staying on the phase of working to just 'be able to do it'.

As I said before, inhaling deeply is harder for most people both in terms of amount and timing. Really, try to very cleanly inhale for 5 and exhale for 5, with no gaps or stop. You are doing the polar opposite of apnea: you are training yourself to breathe smoothly without jerks, stops, holds or random inhales/exhales. It will totally change the way you move. Then as you work your way to the 1/9 you change the counts but the quality should remain.

Apnea (or Apnoea in the UK, they are both right) is a work on itself. You must be so sure and calm to do it well: that is the gift that it teaches you: you can increase the exertion, but you must remain calm. But for many people is detrimental to work on it. In Pilates in particular we only have a few. In nature it happens naturally in, for example, holding an extension, like reaching up with one arm to search for something on the top shelf: we naturally inhale and hold our breath for as long as the brain want us to be "taller". In Pilates we imitate nature, so we inhale to lengthen, especially under pressure.

We train how to breathe well, then, when you are fitter and smarter you can start holding out. Nobody breathes well until they do so naturally: otherwise they are still forcing it. Eventually, unless you are working directly on the diaphragm as a muscle, it should be automatic, transparent and matching in dynamic with the need at hand.

Regarding my preference for not mixing, you said:
"Because you have the knowledge to make clear distinctions.
And so, to set clear goals.
But it’s much more confusing for me, to know what is the one and the other, why and how."
and I am going to do a positive disagreement: that is, I don't agree with you and I think you are being negative/cutting yourself short.

I explain: If you do Pilates of Yoga without any understanding and perform the movements/asanas exactly as directed you will shine eventually. If you do not understand Yoga do not mix it with Pilates to solve it. Keep working at it. They help each other greatly without having to 'bridge' between them. Many people mix because they only have half of each, and they think that two halves will make one whole. Now you will not understand anything. It is a question of time, patience and the belief that you will make it. You CAN'T understand mentally what your body hasn't done physically.
The easiest way to walk out of the confusion is, again, simplicity: go down to the level of the movement/exercise/asana and perform it exactly. The MOVEMENT, not the idiotic requests of the mediocre trainer who will ask you to use your core, imprint/be neutral, stabilize your scapulas, etc... a good trainer trains you how to MOVE WELL. If you move well the rest is certainly covered.

If nothing else, as a trainer, you want to know what is what, and mixing too early, without comprehending both sides by themselves ends up with a product that is even worse than either half alone. Is as simple as practising. Joseph said it: 10 years of practice before you teach it... It builds confidence. Do not criticise what you do, especially is it is something new. Be ok with having to practice something more times than you would like to acknowledge because, probably, that is what is holding you back: the need to get it right immediately.

Going back to the mindset of the exercise: not only is necessary for the exercise but also for the place the exercise has in the chain. If you change something, maybe you gained something new, but you lost the role that the exercise played on the whole. Again, many times replacing is better than modifying (also what Joseph would do)

Yes, official instructions get SO ANAL that they don't produce their own goals. Again, most trainers learn instructions and not how to move well. Most people who do Pilates (or anything for that matter) well is because they move well. They perpetuate the 'rules' by always discussing them rather than comparing the ease and prowess of what they do. People take them so literally that they can't perform them.
Take, for example, the example that you offered in Aikido: bouncing on the balls of the feet while inhaling and a nice exhale as you return the heels to the floor: you could explain it by "inhale as you bounce up and keep bouncing, exhale as you return to the floor" most people, not the OCD's in the audience, if they just try to do it without taking the instruction to literally will include mini-exhales in between the inhales. Now, if you start 'interpreting' the instruction as "the instruction doesn't include exhales at all between bounces so you musn't" then not only you will focus on that -not inhaling- but you will fail twice. Once because you can't do it, twice because you were not thinking of doing IT but about something else.

We should learn the movement and in Pilates the breathing should help with the movement. It is not a side instruction, something else you have to do... Eventually, as you learn a new exercise the breathing pattern should be there instantly without having to clarify what is it.

Again, if we place the Spirit 1st if saves us a lot of time and effort: what do I want to do? Not necesarily the body: what do I need? or the mind: how should I do it? The trainer chooses for you for a while, eventually you must be the one.

This is a fun discussion. In a Pilates context it is something for the more skilful performer, not because of difficulty (apneas are easy) but because a lot of ground has to be covered before. The body must be able to work without massive oxygenation demands which means the exercise has been accomplished already. The exercise has already delivered its benefits: all the necessary body changes have occurred and one is doing the exercise just to keep the ability of being able to do it with relative ease. Basically one is not 'suffering' the exercise any more, not physically and especially, in the case of apneas, not mentally. Now we can introduce new challenges because the mind can focus on the apnea and not in whatever other things that also need to happen simultaneously. We must have the serene calm that allow us to really feel that we are working now into a new aspect and focus on it. Otherwise, we will fail, feel frustrated and all the apnea achieved was cellular death. If you are going to sing and hold a high note, hold it only when you learn to hit the right note dependably.

I must stop... thanks for your comments!!! very interesting to learn about other techniques.

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Re: Breathing and the Hundred

Post by AlainG »

This last post of yours is very important for me, in the sequence.
The previous others insights have prepared the ground with new perspectives.
So clearly formulated.

The whys and the hows.
Order and process at one´s appropriate rhythm.
If comparisons between different arts, always seeking for simplicity of practice.
Especially the link between breathing and the WHOLE body condition.

So, the intent on MOVEMENT as the key for organic performance (don´t know if it is an oxymoron).
I recognize that I still tend to analyze in terms of "body shapes", especially of the spine, as an aid for guidance.
Perhaps still the sign of a lack of confidence in movement itself...
I have to verify by myself.
For example, I use references like "C-curve", "neutral spine" or "two-way stretch".
Not as static images for the intellect, but as a guide for dynamics.

I´ve read your take on these "classical" or "contemporary" terms.
I can relate with your critics, particularly for the terms "powerhouse" and "core".
Because it´s also part of my background in martial arts.

In Yi quan, for example, there is NO lower "dantian" (considered as a "pot of energy")
[same as "(seika-) Tanden" in the "hara/koshi" region, in japanese]
and supposed to be a psycho-physical "center" wher it would be possible "to store energy".
Rather, the yi quan´s theory mentions "hunyuan li" ("primordial/chaotic force"), or more pragmatically "Zheng li" ("whole body force").
It could be thought much more like the bio-tensegrity concept.
Reciprocal tensions for expressing potential springiness, with emphasis in re-coiling and coiling into lengthening.
But no singular body part as the center.
So, Wang XiangZhai (founder of yi quan) was a critical of the dantian theory.

However, "C-curve", "neutral" and "two-way stretch" appear to me as descriptive of a different logical level, that of shape.
Not presupposing hierarchical body parts organization. More the description of a result.
But I´m sure there is a reason for you distancing from these "Pilates´term

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Re: Breathing and the Hundred

Post by AlainG »

I´ve found a more precise description of the Hundred by Jerome Andrews:
Le Cent [the Hundred]: Le dos allongé sur le sol, les pieds et le bâton comme suspendus à un même point imaginaire de l’espace à 45%, ainsi que les deux bosses du front de telle façon que les omoplates soient ouvertes et ainsi que toute la colonne vertébrale pende de la tête au coccyx, on expire sur les cinquante premières vibrations du bâton au-dessus des genoux, puis on continue en apnée en avalant la glotte pour allonger l’intérieur des cervicales. Après cette tenue du dos (en 1ière position), on ouvre le corps en avant (3e position) pour laisser la tension sortir dans l’espace et détendre la gorge après sa contraction (et surtout de détendre les deux nerfs et artères carotidiens que nous avions comprimés lors de la rétention du souffle).
So, firstly, the exercise start by fifty arms pumping while exhaling, and then fifty arms pumping while holding in apnea.
The exercise is done with a small stick as an aid.
And it is said that after the Hundred, the back is arched, reversing the movement, so as to release the tension created by the holding, particularly in the throat.

J. Andrews insisted that:
même s’il est« imparfait» le cent ouvre le chemin vers l’intégration.
"Even imperfect, the Hundred opens the path towards integration"

This sentence resonates very much with the emphasis you place on the doing.

J. Andrews used his own terminology for "the positions of the back", like in dance a special terminology for the feet positions.
This terminology for "the positions of the back" is:
(...) positions de dos (première: ouverture du dos en arrière ; seconde : ouverture sur l’axe ; troisième : ouverture en avant, et les deux quatrièmes qui sont les ouvertures latérales)
Translated here as:
- first position similar to "round"
- second position similar to "tall"
- third position similar to "arch"
- fourth positions similar to a bi-lateral crescent (I don´t know if there is an "official name" for these lateral curved positions in "Pilates")

[I´ve read elsewhere that he also used to say "rond de côte" ("rond of rib") like the classical term "rond de jambe"]

As we can read, there is a strong influence from his dance background in his terminology and his research.
But he himself said that he had to deeply re-elaborate ALL of his concepts after his rehabilitation with Joe Pilates (because he had broken 3 metatarses after the reception of a jump... without the usual protective mattresses).
He even said that he had to drink some whisky to endure the rehabilitative work.
I can´t help but smiling...

He insists that is the actual doing on the reformer that elicited the re-elaboration.
Same words as other dancers, but another experience.
For example, that of "succession des vertèbres".
Something as "spinal segmentation".
He used to say:
« y aller, pas articule »
"Go there, don´t articulate"

I feel it is very similar to the idea of simplicity, and directional intent that you have emphatized yourself.

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Re: Breathing and the Hundred

Post by Javier »

Hello Alain,
I am sorry I took so long to answer. I was in Spain dealing with some family matters.

I will answer backwards: 1st about the positions.

There is always a tendency from a pupil to try to fix and codify the work of the master. That usually destroys at least part of the masters work because is based on the observations of his work rather than writing down the work of the master after going through the same process and experiences of the master.

People have come up with all sort of ‘codes’ and ‘positions’ to define the method and the exercises: they all are constricting and fail to produce good long term results. For a trainer they are even more dangerous since they start fitting the client into the ready-made positions and instructions and keeps them from looking and training what is in front of them.

Some people have even reduced the method to 5 types of movements!!! How poor and how boring!!!

Take for example the ‘c-curve’ which everyone is slapping everywhere -not ONCE used by Joseph- they copy-paste it everywhere. Since when is the rounding of the Crab the same as a Horseback? Is as useless as it is stupid and worst of all it defines a POSITION when the method is about MOVEMENT so we should be focusing how to train someone so they can beautifully move in and out of a round position -Horseback- or how to make a position and move it -Crab.

Also there is an innate necessity for those who can’t perform to try to intellectually understand the method and they love a set of anything -lists, codes, cues, concepts,…- that makes them feel that they got it.

The biggest problem with terminology is that it teaches the brain before it teaches the body. That sets the practitioner further back than where they started.

In the Hundred we see often trainers taking about the dammed ‘core’, soft knees, legs at 45 (the killer position), scapula stabilization, etc… preventing the client from experiencing the Hundred: engage all your body and breath deeply: warm up. ALL your body. You integrate BECAUSE YOU USE YOUR WHOLE BEING, no one part more than another. You don’t overuse anything, you don’t leave anything behind.
Now about the apnea.

In this case we see a total departure from the exercise as Joseph taught it. But lets say that this description is for an more advanced pupil -very advanced in fact- who has mastered both the original version -which hopefully J. Andrews still taught even if only to let the pupil know the original- and the art of apnea.

Apneas are usually attempted after calming oneself and deeply concentrating in lowering one’s activity. The Hundred is totally the opposite. Is about engaging and starting. Breathing and initializing. Mixing the two is troublesome. And mixing the two in the first -or 2nd- exercise is even worse.

Even he acknowledges that you have to arch afterwards to release the tension created which is a solution for an unnecessary problem created by doing such a difficult version. Also such a tension creates the wrong kind of warm up: you warm up because you are tense not because you move, therefore you may feel ‘heated up’ but you also feel stiff which makes the next exercise -in the Mat- the Roll Up, incredibly hard.

While there are maybe great benefits to doing the 100 this way, it prevents the person from understanding and feeling the flow of exercises. It changes the goal so much that you lost the ability to continue into the next exercise normally. It usually happens when we define and analyze any exercise by itself.

When I think that most people don’t breath well while moving, the idea of teaching them to do an apnea really puzzles me. Most people ‘suffer’ the Humdred also because they are not strong enough and their legs and arms are not collaborating -the legs are usually only adding weight, especially the ones who practice the ‘soft knees’ modern style of Pilates- so they are not in the ‘calm’ situation.

In my opinion, there is so much to be achieved and improved before going into apneas, but most importantly, I am against making the simple exercises complicated. Many fail to advance because they make the simpler, more approachable exercises, too hard. Traines who have failed at achieving a fairly advanced workout make the so-called basic and interdmediate exercises too hard, almost impossible to achieve. Instead of moving to truly more advanced exercises they over-complicate the simpler ones. That leads to frustration and stagnation, worse, it prevents you from really improving. An exercise is no more advanced because you make it harder. Is just harder. More advanced means it requires a more developed body and finer motor skills and grace/efficiency.

Sure, one can also add variations to the exercises, but to redefine the Hundred this way is a bit too far from Pilates' ideas and, also, a bit misleading if the person trained is not being taught the original too.


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Re: Breathing and the Hundred

Post by AlainG »

Thank you for your answer.
As I´ve written in another post, I was waiting for it.
So clearly put, again.

Code: Select all

Since when is the rounding of the Crab the same as a Horseback? Is as useless as it is stupid and worst of all it defines a POSITION when the method is about MOVEMENT so we should be focusing how to train someone so they can beautifully move in and out of a round position -Horseback- or how to make a position and move it -Crab.

Code: Select all

The biggest problem with terminology is that it teaches the brain before it teaches the body. That sets the practitioner further back than where they started.
Force of terminology, force of "evidence"...
Stating that the "C-curve" is no more THE universal rounded curve, but a dynamic/shape of a particular exercise is powerful for the whole practice itself.
I´ve had encountered the same problem, for a long time, when practicing a martial art called Yi quan.
Because of its emphasis on "static postures" and minimal motion, I wasn´t able to MOVE efficiently.
Worse, I started to lose my ability gained in a previous practice much more based on wave movement (yoseikan budo).
Thanks to real challenges, at some point I have returned to movement first.
I have returned to the whole purpose, and intent, despite terminology and shapes.
As you´ve said in another thread, it should be a formalization of a result, not a starting point.
As in Pilates, some other practices can also miss the point, both the teacher and the student.
Something has been overly complicated in the process of transmission.

As for Jerome Andrews, we can´t know how deep was his knowledge and ability in Pilates.
From what has been reported by dancers, rather high level, virtuosity and strong presence.
Anyway, the points you have mentioned about apnea, as well as purpose and difficulty of an exercise are logical.
Plus, I have no experience of apnea work as in yoga, or systema (russsian martial art).
I agree that there is so much work in movement and breathing.
And I like cats. Never seen them doing retentions.
Sure, not a scientific point here.

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