Relationship Between Health Psychology and Pure Classical Pilates


In pure classical Pilates, pupils usually begin in flat-back, supine position to enable them to concentrate their attention inward, to listen and connect with their bodies, and to associate with the necessary muscles. In flat-back, supine position, we do not have a localized gravity force pulling the weight of the head and torso downward into hip joints, knee joints, ankles joints and feet, as we do in vertical standing position.

In the horizontal position, with the ground as a tactile cue, there is an opportunity to practice placement, alignment and muscular articulation with gravity’s force being more equally distributed through the span of our body. Flat-back supine position also supplies the learner with significant tactile feedback from the Mat, Reformer, Cadillac or Barrels, because they support the back and, in some cases, the entire body. Supine position encourages psychological regression, which can actually facilitate psychological growth and progression. Psychoanalysts call this process “active regression in service of the ego” or ARISE. It is likely that Joseph Pilates planned for us to carefully consider our alignment, placement, length, energetic intensity and muscular stabilization in a slightly regressive emotional state-yet more focused mental state-in order to prepare us for learning the complexity of his system.

In the traditional method, complexity expands quickly as we advance from flat-back supine to sitting, to kneeling and standing positions with ever increasing movement vocabulary. When a conventional instructor observes certain emotions communicated through a student’s body (for example, disappointment, anxiety, anger or depression), it can be appropriate to suggest ways of working through these emotions. In other cases, pupils may manifest threads of frustration that unconsciously deflect from feeling unconscious self-criticism. Pupils may alternately come for assistance in actualizing their idealized self. In this case, if someone feels an inner drive to transform qualities or attributes into an idealized state, we can gradually help these individuals move from idealistic aspirations to self-acceptance. These students, with our guidance, may shift from working toward an impractical outcome and move toward appreciating the method and journey toward healing.

Again, our work as traditional instructors often includes assisting students in experiencing their true, authentic selves, helping them work with constructive trends toward progress and fulfillment. During this procedure, students may have to work through their own self-criticism, and even shame. Both health-psychology-professional.php”>health psychology and traditional health specialists also assess the kind and degree to which pupils rely upon imaginary, unrealistic ways of perceiving themselves. The more a student identifies with exaggerated ego and pride, the more motivation there is to repress unconscious disturbance, thus staying put in an emotionally crippling, fantasy-constructed world. Attitudes and perceptions that comprise irrational or faulty beliefs are powerfully ingrained because they were formed a long time ago during early childhood and young adulthood. They develop under the duress of basic anxiety and are used tactically to cope with the dissonance.


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