Presumption of privilege.
With the presumption of privilege you presume you have the privilege.
Whatever it is you are doing, you presume you have the privilege to do so. Until something or someone stops you it is the only way to fly. Just presume you are privileged, and as such, you can do whatever you want.
The presumption of privilege in Pilates comes from presuming you have the privilege to choose your interpretation of the facts, when in fact, the facts speak for themselves. What facts? The mat exercises. They're all facts. Facts in a sequence, and defined by the originator of the sequence--Joseph Pilates.
The sequence is a survival routine, synthesized, refined, to an essence determined by the jungle you are seeking to survive in--gravity. The more you can use uniform engagement of your muscles as you move through space, the lighter you are. That's because your load is distributed as evenly as possible.
Many in the Pilates establishment presume a privilege they don't have. Their interpretation of Pilates is subjective and self serving.
Before the Rosetta Stone, scholars made up their own subjective interpretations of Egyptian hieroglyphs. After the Rosetta Stone, scholars had to acknowledge the hieroglyphs were an alphabet.
The Pilates Mat is an alphabet whose order is essential to its meaning. Understanding the alphabet, and the meaning of its order removes the presumption of privilege taken up to now to make of it whatever you want. When you understand the alphabet of Pilates, you know the language and can speak for yourself.
Michael Miller Pilates
Michael Miller Trademark "Cornu"
Pilates is Personal.
What matters is that you relate to it. If you didn't, it wouldn't be personal.
Now personal is, as personal does. Each to their own. Connect with whatever and run with it. And everyone does, that's what makes it so personal.
For me, for my person, for the human life that I've been living, my personal view of Pilates has taken on, or looks through, tries to see, the ideal within.
Why? Oh, more control I guess. But the real ego trip? Pointing into the cave. The cave of experience, the listening to your sensations, and responding by choice. A student once said to me after they heard this, "Michael, yes, but in the back of the cave is a caverna." And yes that may be true. And none of this may interest you. Especially, if you still live inside your mind, and haven't grasped the deeper truth that you are more than your mind. You are more than your thinking. Of course, you know, if you look at spirit the way I do, as the listener/observer, then the "more than your mind" that you are, becomes apparent as the listener/observer. Now whether that's a distinction that exists between a human and the divine the human exists within, or the front part of the brain and the back part. The prefrontal cortex versus the amygdala and hippocampus. (The "let me think about it" prefrontal cortex versus "what's going on out there" amygdala, and the "where am I in it" hippocampus.)
Isn't is amazing how personal everyone takes Pilates? And isn't it amazing how Pilates is personally interpreted?
Michael Miller Pilates
Michael Miller Trademark "Cornu"
Why am I selling a license?
My archivist cut back on her hours teaching. One of her students wrote me asking for other teachers nearby who were ideally trained by me. There is only one archivist to my work, replacing her would be impossible. There’s nobody in the world who knows my work better than she does, so it makes me sad that someone used to her teaching has to go looking elsewhere for what my archivist is so uniquely gifted to give.
I told her about Michelle of Pure Pilates in Montana and Cecilia of Lorenzi Pilates in Sicily. Both can help her continue her Michael Miller style Pilates practice. Both are licensed affiliates. Both can give her a certificate with Cornu on it. And in the future she could always look on my website to find my licensed affiliates. (Maybe it is time she became a Michael Miller Pilates Licensed Affiliate? To more formally share what she knows?)
That’s what I’m selling--a license. A license to affiliate with Cornu and my neo-classical view of Pilates. A license to use my trademark on certificates you issue for training. A listing on the web so others looking specifically for Michael Miller Pilates can find you, even if they can’t get a hold of me. (This is the same thing I’ve been trying to do all along.)
It’s advertising. It’s brand affiliation. It’s a way to make money.
That’s why I’m selling it; it is a way to make money. For me, and for you.
There are lots of teachers around the world influenced by my view of Pilates. Affiliates are those few who seek a more formal relationship with Michael Miller Pilates and the Cornu trademark. It matters to them. They see advantage in the affiliation no matter who they certify or are certified by.
I'm selling a license to help you carry on what I taught you. (If I taught you anything at all.) This whole, ideal within the original work of Joseph Pilates, comes from me. Teaching towards that ideal is what my affiliates appreciate. And share with others.
Why do I hold my convention at the moment of the Summer Solstice? Because it is a change in pattern that is observable. Observation directly linked to survival. Think of the Incas in Machu Picchu, their observation of the Solstice was the basis for timing the planting of the crops.
In my style of Pilates, the "spirit" in Joe's definition of Contrology as "Complete coordination of body, mind and spirit" is the observer/listener. The observer/listener is not the thinker. So, to get the complete coordination of body, mind and spirit, spirit has to be present and completely coordinated with body and mind.
You have to listen; you just can't go from mind to muscle. (well, you can, and many do, but if you do it's not my style)
You have to listen to what you sense and make change based upon what you observe. You have to own your effort to control your movement. And that takes engagement of the observer/listener. Spirit. Observation. Control. Survival.
I teach neo-classical Pilates.
George Balanchine taught neo-classical ballet.
Balanchine made the “why” of his ballets music.
I made the “why” of my Pilates physics.
Why does that make what I teach about Pilates neo-classical? Because classical Pilates does not consider “why” Pilates is what it is, only “who.” Classical Pilates only considers biology and ignores physics.
I look at Pilates and want to understand “why.” I find understanding in the physics, even to the distinction that Joe's reference to “spirit” has nothing to do with “spiritual” and everything to do with the listener/observer within each of us.
My students study what makes Pilates what it is. They seek to make sense of its essence. In doing so they end up with a sensation to teach their students: “complete coordination of body, mind and spirit” as a state of being in the body, in the moment of the doing.
I would just call my view of Pilates just—Pilates, but if you reject that as classical, I’m okay with calling my view of Pilates neo-classical.
When I read about Gelsey Kirkland’s life in her book “Dancing On My Grave” my heart was torn in the anguish of Gelsey needing story to inform her dance, from a director who was trying to leave story out.
That director was George Balanchine, and Joseph Pilates was his contemporary. Both men cared deeply about the ideal expression of movement. For Balanchine, it was ballet; for Pilates is was fitness. Ideal movement in ballet is determined by the director; ideal movement in Pilates is determined by gravity.
Movement is pattern. When you seek ideal movement to survive you seek ideal pattern.
The sequence of exercises that appears in his book, “Return to Life Through Contrology” is the ideal movement pattern. That is his method. His pattern is his message to you.
If you don’t get the pattern, if you don’t understand “why” the pattern is structured the way is you are like a dancer for Balanchine, just doing the movement by instruction without story, without a reason why. (Balanchine's "why" was the music.)
It is tempting to be Balanchine and have your students move by your direction, but to teach Pilates you have to have your students move by their own direction. Without them, directing their own movement from their own sensation, it’s not as true to the ideal within Pilates as it could be.
Michael Miller Pilates Licensed Affiliates understand the “why” of Pilates in a unique way, an ideal way.
If there are any “Gelsey’s” out there who are dying to know more about the story, the why, of Pilates, so they can move better from a deeper understanding of the movement—my licensed affiliates are the ones who can help you.