Never underestimate the power of realization. During my riding (horse) lesson on Sunday my trainer and I worked on gymnastic exercises designed to increase flexibility, strength and lightness. Both my horse and I had taken time off due to injuries, so we were both starting back up at levels lower than we had left off. They say that the hardest part of exercise is getting started, and this lesson was no exception to the rule!
The exercises we were doing were basic, but demanding given the present level of fitness. Although I understood in concept why my horse was huffing and puffing about the exercises, I can say today that I feel I am much more empathetic about what he was going through during the lesson after my Pilates class yesterday.
If you have never tried Pilates, it is one of those forms of exercise – like yoga – that is much harder than it looks. Pilates emphasizes core strength and stabilization.
One of the movements during my session on the Reformer (a piece of equipment used in Pilates) was called the “Elephant.” The movement, shown to the right, involves articulating your legs back and forth at the hip joint while keeping everything else stable. This move is one of many exercises that strengthens the powerhouse – the pelvic floor muscles, Transversus, Multifidus, muscles of the inner thigh and the muscles circling the sitting bone area – that, in turn, offers a solid foundation for any movement.
This movement in particular was working at exactly what I was after in the gymnastic exercises with my horse. And boy did I feel it later! As I said, my empathy increased but so, too, did my resolve. Getting to the other side of this exercise was tremendously rewarding. Further, I realized again that lessons learned in one department of life come in handy in either the performance or the understanding of another.
Your life is one thing and approaching it with a holistic perspective has its advantages. As I mentioned in my post, Classical Education: A Primer, the linkages between fields of study and areas of interest are of vital importance to anyone seeking to refine his or her expression. If you are frustrated, if progress is blocked in one area of your life, look to the areas where you are successful for clues as to how to restore the flow you know is possible.
Your life is one thing and the sooner you treat it as such, the better off you’ll be.