What is the summer without a good book to tote along to the beach, pool, or simply take to that hammock swinging beneath the trees in your own back yard? I’ve ‘raided’ my personal library to entertain my crave for summer reading and I thought I’d share some of the titles sitting in my reading basket. Yes, I keep an actual basket of reading materials by my bed-side – shocker – not everything is on my iPad!
So, I’m kind of a body geek, you might imagine, and truth is I don’t really read a ton of fiction. Because of that, my list is rather inspired by latest pursuits with respect to fascia – or the connective tissue layer that makes up our bodies – and the vital role it plays in our health.
Somatics by Thomas Hanna is a book that was recommended to me quite some time ago, and while it was published in 1988, the new science that is emerging about fascia makes it just as relevant today. The book touches on case histories of people’s injuries, trauma and resulting postures that most of us can easily identify with, and then “connects the dots” through explanations of deeply ingrained neuromuscular reflexes in the body. He offers a “somatic exercise” regime from which your capability requires a grasp of how the brain and the body are together affected by trauma. Yeah, guess it’s no wonder why a Pilates instructor might gobble up this book!
Around the starting point of my journey toward teaching Pilates, of course it was essential to have read his work. Now perhaps you’ll think it sounds odd, but it’s one of those “history” books for the field, and I feel drawn to reviewing my copy of the compiled works time and again; Return to Life Through Contrology and Your Health by Joseph H. Pilates and William J. Miller. If not to re-read in its entirety, then just to “hear” the voice, the attitudes and principles of the guy who was inspired to create his method. It’s certainly one way I find to keep connected to the depth of the work. If you’re a devoted Pilates enthusiast and haven’t yet – I encourage you pick up a copy and see where it all began.
My most recent educational foray is in the MELT Method, which takes the latest research on connective tissue and presents it as a heavily active member of our nervous system. In fact, in her book, entitled for the Method, author Sue Hitzmann refers to it as our neurofascial system –influential to the stress regulators and responsible for supporting, protecting and stabilizing, well, pretty much everything in our body. In the MELT Method, you address accumulated stuck stress that occurs not only from trauma but from day-to-day living. Applying the gentle MELT techniques releases long-held tension and rehydrates connective tissue, improving function and healing.
The last book I’ll mention is Inner Focus Outer Strength by Eric Franklin. In the book he says “Mental and physical fitness cannot be separated.” He uses his trademark illustrations to educate and inform quality of movement. He has a penchant for creating images that tease out the more natural and aligned posture that is desired by the body. It always inspires me! Imagery can be humorous and light, yet carry so much information. Beyond visual demo and touch-cueing, I feel like it’s one of the best approaches in teaching movement. The imagination provides framework and texture. Plus it’s honestly a powerful tool for students themselves to create positive change.
I hope like me, you’re finding inspiration and exploration from your summer reading adventures.
See you in the studio!