I've begun to read Joseph Pilates' book Return to Life Through Contrology and as I excitedly first opened the front cover, the thought crossed my mind that maybe this book was going to be archaic and just not applicable to our times. Maybe his writing would be in terms that just wouldn't make sense to me and that I would have to spend hours deciphering. But I have been quickly proven wrong.
Wow. Despite the fact that it was published first in 1945, its relevance to today's problems and issues are probably even more applicable than they were in the middle of last century! He writes of "this Modern Age" and how hectic and crazy it is with such things as "telephones, automobiles, and economic pressure" as well as dealing with crowds, rushing, pushing, scrambling, etc. that is "so characteristic of our day." If only he could see us now! With our ever-connectedness to our computers, phones, ipods and the like, there is no downtime for us to relax our minds. Joseph knew that this was depriving people of rest, energy for recreation, and much needed sleep.
He offers a wealth of wisdom and science toward helping a person become an entirely physically fit being. His key points include exercise, obviously, namely his own method of Contrology (what we today simply call "Pilates"), but also proper diet, good sleep, enough relaxation during the day, and even his own way of cleaning oneself! If you're dying to know what that last particular method includes, it involves a scrub brush sans handle so that one is forced to twist and turn to reach all areas of the body, and also thoroughly scrubbing to stimulate circulation and clear out the pores so that they can "breathe", which I somehow see as similar to reteaching our lungs to breathe properly, not with what he labels "lazy breathing."
What caught my eye most in the first section of the book is the wonderful encouragement he constantly doles out, reminding his readers that "PATIENCE and PERSISTENCE are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor." Joseph's first challenge is to perform the exercises starting simply with ten minutes, four times a week, and gradually working up from there. How easy is that! Ten minutes at a time! Even the busiest of people can probably find ten minutes, four times a week. As he states, "Make up your mind that you will perform your [Pilates] exercise ten minutes without fail." He created the first ten-minute workout. So easy! So let's do this thing!
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