Forward: Courtney Holcomb, Waveforms Pilates Owner/Instructor
Multiple times a year you will find both myself, and Molly Jo out for a period of time gone for what we describe as Continuing Education. Though our primary Pilates educations have been completed for quite some time, the learning end of movement is never over. Choosing the path of being Pilates instructors and movement educators, this is a commitment we have made to ourselves:
That the education doesn’t stop after our final exams. There’s not a certain graduation of sort where now we’ve magically achieved and learned all we need to know to be a successful and effective Pilates instructors. But mostly, this is a commitment to our students.
That we will not repeat the same things without further investigation and exploration. That we will not subscribe to a “one-size-fits-all” model for our students. That we will not just parrot what someone told us once about movement. We will learn, explore, and experiment to find the best solutions for our students bodies, and our own.
Molly Jo is excited to share with you all some highlights from her training and experiences from the 2018 McEntire Summit. This is her third year in attendance, and each year there are new topics for exploration and further education.
A Report from McEntire Summit 2018
Author: Molly Jo Mathe, Waveforms Pilates Instructor
In July, I traveled to Rochester, MI to attend the McEntire Summit at the McEntire Pilates Studio to deepen my knowledge in movement and Pilates. Each year, the summit takes on a theme or intention for its Breakout Sessions, offerings, and content. This year, Trent McEntire offered us the intention full-hearted… and indeed it was. We discussed a wide range of topics including scoliosis and spinal asymmetry, new equipment and its opportunities for creative imagery, the importance of thoughtful movement exploration, and our roles as Pilates Facilitators in the world and how I can best serve my purpose and share my expertise with others.
The first Breakout Session I attended was “#JUSTMOVE: Facilitating Exploration in Movement” with James Crader as presenter. There, we learned the difference between being a facilitator of movement vs. training bodies – the benefits of both approaches and how one offers a leg up in encouraging autonomy in students’ movement practice and exploration as well as my own. I loved the quote on the top of his page, because it accurately sums up the session: “What if good movement wasn’t about getting it ‘right?’ What if just moving was the medicine we’re all looking for within our practice?” – James Crader. I firmly believe healthy and fulfilling movement modalities are thoughtful ones. When we’re being inquisitive about how we’re moving and what we’re feeling we can get better at creating movement strategies for ourselves that extend beyond the time spent in the studio.
My next session was presented by my lovely mentor, Jenna Zaffino, where I experienced and explored her new invention, The Duet ™. The Duet ™ is a roller accessory system which allows two foam rollers to hook together side by side to achieve more feedback to the back and side body through the Pilates repertoire. I loved experimenting with the ideas of movement texture, quality, volume, and vibrations through the feedback of The Duet ™ system. I left the rollers with a better sense of my body in relation to the space around me and felt like I was buzzing in every positive sense of the word. It felt so good to feel embraced by the rollers in such a supported way! Since returning, I occasionally hook the rollers together simply to lay on them for comfort, relaxation, and support (and who doesn’t want more of that in their lives?) Some of my students who have experienced the double rollers in their sessions with me have voiced desires of taking a nap on the duo-apparatus, because of the embrace-like quality they experience – I respond by saying, “I might squirt you with the spray bottle if you begin snoring.” #kidding #itendtomakealotofjokes
My last day of the Summit included more information from multiple presenters. In Shawn Healey’s Breakout of “The Neurology of the Unconscious Mind”, he discussed brain functions in detail as well as how the mind processes movement and how movement behavior can change through unconscious decisions. However, the truly mind blowing take away from his session was the sneak-peak into how we can cast aside negative responses like bodily pain or emotional trauma and transform our outlook to take on a more positive one on our past, present, and future. I’m still digesting all I learned from this workshop, and how I can translate this information into my life and my vocation.
SCOLIOSIS & ASYMMETRY
Later, with Dr. Suzanne Martin, we executed tests by utilizing tools (like eye dominance information) for assessing and correcting movement patterns in relation to “Spinal Asymmetry, Scoliosis, and Laterality”. I deal with discomforts and occasional pain from my scoliosis on a daily basis and wanted to experience the benefits of this test firsthand. So, I jumped at the opportunity to be a “test subject.” What we all observed after completing the first assessment, the corrective intervention (where we applied corrective exercises), and then the second assessment was an improvement in executing our basic functional movements – like walking. I was excited to bring back more tools to my Pilates toolbox for myself and my students at Waveforms Pilates struggling with similar discomforts.
MOVEMENT FOR MOVEMENT’S SAKE
In the last session of the conference, we moved together with the guidance of Heather Vaughan Southard and Carol Crincoli. Some was Pilates based and the rest was what some would classify as a creative movement experience. Being a dancer, I’m quite comfortable with exploring “unconventional” forms of movement in my body – if you’ve ever observed or participated in an dance improvisation class, you understand what I mean. For me, dance was simple; I took dance class in order to perform. I trained my body in a specific set of skills but not necessarily as a resource for my own self care. But there, we took our emotions and intentions out of our heads and translated that energy into physical movement. It was liberating, fun, awkward, silly, scary, and wonderful – all at once. And after completing the movement session, I felt an abandonment of judgement and an embrace of acceptance and compassion.
A FULL-HEARTED COMMUNITY
It was fulfilling to be surrounded by people and presenters who are not only passionate about what they do in the Pilates community, but are also purely genuine and full-hearted people. I couldn’t help but be inspired by the their presentations, kind words, advice, and intimate conversations by all who attended and contributed. Everything I learned and rediscovered that weekend iterates that movement is and can deliberately be an emotional outsource, and by engaging into a regular intentional practice we have the tools to help us on our quest for self care. Now, please don’t confuse what I’m saying to mean that I or Pilates should replace your therapist. Spoiler alert: I’m not a therapist. What I am, is a facilitator of movement who uses Pilates as a vector, and through movement we have an opportunity to heal and change our mind and body if we are willing to embrace these ideas and simply #showup.
-Molly Jo Mathe
Curious to experience some of these movement ideas for yourself? Book a one-on-one session with Molly Jo today by contacting us at email@example.com!