Joseph Pilates: quotes from a genius
"Lazy breathing converts the lungs, figuratively speaking, into a cemetery for the deposition of diseased, dying, and dead germs as well as supplying an ideal haven for the multiplication of other harmful germs." -- Joseph Pilates
Mr. Pilates was such a firm believer in the importance of efficient breathing that he even created a small piece of apparatus to increase lung capacity, the Breath-A-Cizer. It's rarely seen in today's Pilates studios or incorporated into our certification programs but it's a phenomenal testimony to his genius and his understanding of the importance of breath.
(Breath-A-Cizer from Gratz Industries)
I got to test one out at a recent workshop I took with Michael Fritzke & Ton Voogt, hosted at In & Up Pilates in Silver Lake, CA.
(L-R: owners of In & Up Pilates, Robin & Stephanie. Ton, ME, Michael)
First of all, I have to tell you that Michael & Ton are two of my ABSOLUTE favorite Pilates instructors. They were two of my original teachers in the mid-nineties in NYC. And what I love about them is that they have an incredibly vast knowledge and understanding of Pilates, drawn from years of studying with just about all of our Pilates elders. They were even Teacher Trainers for Romana Kryzanowska. They teach with such humility and humor without losing the efficacy or integrity of the work. They truly embrace the teachings that come from all of Joe's protegees including Romana, Kathy Grant, Lolita San Miguel, Carola Trier, Eve Gentry, Ron Fletcher etc; and without bias. It is absolutely refreshing and enlightening to be in their presence.
Anyway, back to the breath-a-cizer. They introduced it to us in their Building Blocks Workshop that primarily presented Pre-Pilates exercises or what Kathy Grant would call "Before the Hundred". It was interesting to blow through the straw and see just how long we could sustain the spin of the metal pinwheel. And it was even more interesting to challenge the use of our breath during exercises like the Roll Up on the mat.
(Julia Miller, Equinox Pilates Instructor, testing her lung capacity)
(Michael Fritzke assisting Robin doing the Roll Up w/ the Breath-A-Cizer)
Have you noticed a certain point during the Roll Up that clients get "stuck"? It's usually the point when they hold their breath. As a result, their spine becomes rigid and loses it's ability to articulate off the mat. The breath-a-cizer serves as the perfect reminder to BREATHE; especially during the most challenging part of the exercise.
I just might run to the .99 store and pick up my own bootleg version of the Breath-A-Cizer for my mat classes, the good 'ol pinwheel. The real thing costs $75.
Rock Your Powerhouse!