The Scoop (Really This Month)
By Diane Adams-Strickland
"In theory there is no difference between theory and practice - in practice there is.”
I love this quote; it is going to be my mantra for 2021. Less talk about the practice of Pilates, and more practice of Pilates.
2021: A new year, another chance, a redo, a renaissance. Never has there been a more perfect time to rethink your Pilates practice...and put it into practice. I started Foundational Fridays so we could all dig deeper into the foundational elements of Pilates, and that goes for me, too. Care to join me on this journey?
Where should we start? I think we should go waaaaaaaayyyy back. What could be more foundational than The Scoop? When I began my Pilates journey years and years (and years) ago, I taught myself. I watched videos. I read books. I did everything except take private and/or group sessions. I thought I knew it all; I thought I was hot stuff...and then I walked into a Pilates studio. Let’s just say I may have been lukewarm stuff. In my first private session, my instructor continually cued me to “scoop.” Huh? What did she mean? “Scoop your abs,” she instructed me. Was she blind? It was clearly obvious I was using my abs. “No, scoop in and up,” she reiterated. Up? What the heck was she talking about?
Although I questioned whether I should return to an instructor who couldn’t see my self-professed ab engagement, my body did feel better. So, I gave her one more chance. This time she slowed me down and went over this “scoop” she kept talking about. I was told that just sucking in my gut wasn’t going to cut it; it was the scoop that helped me articulate, protected my lower back, and lengthened my spine. The scoop, she said, would help me work more efficiently. We spent the entirety of that session on my scoop: how to engage my scoop and how to find my scoop in different positions. That day I realized that I wasn’t really doing Pilates. I had been “muscling” through every exercise, and not initiating every movement from my center. And so began my rebirth, my redo, my fresh start in Pilates. Every exercise now felt different; I felt more connected to my body. (Side note, this goddess of a Pilates instructor is now one of my mentors and boss!)
So don’t be Diane, don’t be lukewarm; I want you to be hot stuff. Let’s make a promise to each other. Let’s promise to work on our scoop, to perfect our scoop, and to intentionally scoop.
So why don’t we stop talking about the theory of the scoop, Meet Me at the Mat every other Friday this month…so we can practice it.
Happy New Year!