Today a baby demonstrates to us what our studio concept ‘Power without Force’ means.
Let me tell you the story …
Next to my studio is the Spanish restaurant Toma Tu Tiempo. The owner is a lovely woman called Lucia, who recently became mother to a sweet baby boy. So on a beautiful autumn day last week, Lucia was standing outside the restaurant with her baby in her arms. Being very fond of children, I went up to Lucia to say hello. Lucia apologetically said that her baby was tired, which I also noticed. Nevertheless, I didn’t let that deter me from experiencing yet another infantile joy.
The firm, confident baby grip
Exuberantly, I extended my index finger to the baby, and quite spontaneously and reflexively he grasped it with his left hand. The grip of his hand felt stable, secure and determined. I said to Lucia in amazement, “What a firm grip!”. Lucia laughed proudly. After a few minutes of enjoying the firm and confident grip of Lucia’s baby, I remembered that I was actually on my way back to the studio because I was supposed to be teaching a one-to-one Pilates class. I was reluctant to release my finger from the baby’s grip. Only to my surprise, I couldn’t. Not because I didn’t want to, but because he wouldn’t let me go. His grip was firm. I couldn’t break free the way I would normally break free from an adult. Lucia tried to help and moved away, but her baby’s hand wouldn’t let go. Impressed and amazed, I said, “Lucia, this is fascinating! I can’t get my finger away from your baby’s grip. Can you believe it?” The baby, in its serene state of half-sleep, did not move its hand an inch away from my finger. Quite effortlessly and without violence, he kept my finger to himself. Only when Lucia ‘distracted’ him with baby talk, he was ready to let go of my finger.
The effort of adults vs. the effortlessness of babies
In the evening, I told my Pilates mat group class about this, and tried the following experiment: I asked one of my 8 Pilates students to hold my index finger and continue to hold on to my finger when I tried to pull my finger away – as I did before with Lucia’s baby. I pulled my finger away with the same commitment and intensity as with Lucia’s baby.
Only my Pilates students reacted completely differently. They contorted their faces, rotated their shoulders inwards, stopped breathing and thrust their heads forward when I tried to free my finger from their grip. And despite all the effort, they became unbalanced. All my students reacted very similarly. That’s interesting, isn’t it? How is that possible? Lucia’s baby is 6 months old and hasn’t trained in a Pilates or fitness studio. How can he withstand the tug of my finger so effortlessly without getting off balance?
Babies ‘Just Do It’
I have been studying the human body and the forces acting upon it for decades, and I can tell you: The baby’s power is driven by a phylogenetic reflexive intelligence instead of a force that is driven by self-will.
At Bodyhood Pilates Studio we call this phylogenetically controlled power ‘Power without Force’. Lucia’s baby illustrates ‘Power without Force’ wonderfully by gripping mono-intentionally. For us adults, however, reaching and gripping has become multi-intentional due to self and social conditioning. And when there are multiple intentions behind it, the story gets complicated.
Does that mean we lose our tribal intelligence when we grow up? I wouldn’t say we lose it, but rather that we forget it. Because through self and societal programming, our phylogenetic intelligence is overwritten. This unfortunately also reinforces ‘Force’ and not ‘Power without Force’ in our training. But, fortunately, we can re-train ‘Power without Force’ and reclaim our phylogenetic intelligence;)
Let’s reclaim ‘Just Do It’!
To reclaim our tribal intelligence – Power without Force – we do not need more muscles. Sure our muscles are the channel through which our power is transmitted but they are not the source of our power. Think back to Lucia’s baby’s solid grip. The source of its power certainly did not come from the baby boy’s muscles, but from his ability to release before he strengthened his grip, and to let go before he moved.
This, ladies and gents, is the basis of our Bodyhood Pilates ‘Power without Force’ concept – presented to us by a baby. Isn’t that amazing?
Let go before you do!
Release, try it & fly with it!
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