Her point is that if I can complete the full range of a motion, my body will not be searching to connect to new muscles and parts of my body, which is my goal. Once the connection is established, I need to build power in it, for example, these exercises are great for consistently strengthening the muscles which are connected, but I am not necessarily forcing my body to reach deeper into the muscles and connective tissue network.
My work with Ale is specifically geared at encouraging new connections to develop among muscles – as opposed to relying on the nerve roots that come out of the spinal cord. I have been on Maui for the last month working with her and the Neuro Kinetic Pilates method (NKP)…and it’s going really well. Since my visit in March, I have been diligently using the Pilates method at home and at Absolute Center in Lafayette, CA; immediately upon my arrival here, Alejandra was able to see lots of improvements…
Since my abdominals are so much more connected than they were just six months ago, we have been able to extend the connections of my back muscle all along my spine. (If the abs are not engaged, then my abdomen hangs loosely and my body is out of alignment so the back cannot function properly.)
You can see my improved muscle tone pretty clearly...pretty sweet!
They are definitely getting better, and the best part is that both my abdominals and back engage automatically when doing exercises for the hips, which is an immense improvement and one that gets me really fired up (so to speak).
This has, of course, only come with a ton of hard work. Since my introduction to NKP last March, every time I returned exhausted from a workout at the gym (and the hour-plus commute), I would think, I’ll give myself a little bit of downtime to stretch-out, but then I’m getting right on those springboard exercises (linked above) to expand on what I just did at the gym.
I noticed over time that after an hour or so of that routine, I felt more invigorated even as my body got more tired. It was as if waking up those muscles unlocked some hidden reservoir of energy somewhere inside me such that I began to feel more awake – and since my last visit working with Alejandra, I am very cognizant of that energetic improvement as I continue to make my movements more efficient.
Seeing and feeling tangible results, and therefore having confidence that what I am doing is actually working is a feeling of immense joy, and relief, that I cannot even describe.
“I uuuuuse the liiiiines…” is Ale’s refrain, referring to our patterns of connective tissue (see diagrams), whenever people ask her how she is able to handle such a physically demanding job for what would be considered a double work-week in the movement-therapy world.
She uses her body efficiently, and in such a muscularly-balanced way that minimizes risk of injury. She has, of course, paid close attention to her own bodily alignment, and it is a constant reminder of how infinite the possibilities are for me as I reconnect to more and more parts of myself.