I was chatting with a friend recently about a workshop I attended. “How was it?” she asked.
“It was great! A really nice group of people.”
“Did you learn anything?”
I paused, thinking about the best way to answer her. “I learned a couple of new techniques I hadn’t seen before and the teacher offered a fresh perspective that differed slightly from mine, so that was really interesting.”
The truth is, I miss being a beginner in this industry, when things were new, techniques were exotic, and I didn’t understand why things worked. The novelty was a powerful drug, one that kept me thinking.
It also piqued my curiosity about the why of things. So I studied, and wrote, and studied some more. I played with movements I learned at workshops, trying to figure out what made certain movements more powerful than others for eliciting change. I studied biomechanics, neuroscience, motor control, and anatomy. I immersed myself and practiced what I learned on clients and myself, constantly searching for how I could better help people and to understand deeply, to remove the allure and the mystery because I knew, on a rational level, nothing is truly magical.
As a result, I understand how the body works, how the body perceives movement and its self, and how changing a person’s self perception requires a multi-faceted approach. The more tools one has, the more likely he will have the right tool for the right person at the right time.
I certainly don’t know everything, but I am no longer searching for the perfect technique that will make everyone feel better. I don’t expect to hear anything completely new or career altering when I go to workshops because I (mostly) understand the why of things. However, knowing the why of things doesn’t mean I know all of the different ways to do things. It also doesn’t mean that hearing something I have heard and written about 1000 times said in a new way doesn’t spark a fresh perspective- I always come home from workshops with a slightly more curious eye and new ideas. Part of working with people in a one on one setting is I am constantly tinkering and “inventing” new ways of getting clients to feel and experience different parts of themselves, using the sensing as a gateway to strength and mobility. Workshops help keep the creative juices flowing.
Much learning in the movement field has shifted to an online format. This is great because it allows people access to teachers they would otherwise have to travel significant distances to learn from. It enables a freer sharing of knowledge and doesn’t take time away from work to get the information.
However, online learning misses something. The collaboration of ideas, the ability to do partner work and actually try teaching a new technique in the moment, the tangential conversations that occur during lunch that somehow find their way circling back to the topic of movement… These are all things that happen in person. Learning can be an isolating process, one which requires a lot of studying, thinking, applying, and evaluating. Learning with others lightens the load a little bit. As the instructor at the workshop I just took noted, “30 brains is better than 1.”
I will continue to go to workshops in person so I can enjoy the time with like-minded professionals and learn, not just from the instructor, but from the students. And I will continue to explore a myriad of movement modalities because there is no “right” way- only different perspectives.
Wishing everyone happy, healthy 2018!
Yours in health and wellness,
Sensing, isolating, and integrating the spine, Saturday, 1/27 from 12-4. Cost: $90. Location: Be Well Personal Training, 3776 The Barnyard, Carmel, CA 92923.
In this four hour WORKSHOP, Jenn Pilotti, M.S. will discuss the spine's role in movement and exercise. Learn how it connects the upper and lower extremity, how to feel different aspects of the spinal column during breath and movement, and how to create stability and mobility for efficient movement. This workshop is appropriate for Pilates teachers, personal trainers, yoga instructors, or individuals interested in deepening their awareness of this area and their relationship to it. The workshop format will include lecture, partner work, and skills designed to tie together research and practical application.
More information: http://www.bewellpt.com/events/2018/1/27/sensing-isolating-and-integrating-the-spine
Unlocking the power of the hips through the ankles and feet, Saturday, 3/24/18 from 12-4:15. Location: 360 FitHau, 1400 Colorado Blvd., Los Angeles CA. Cost: $90
Join Jenn Pilotti, M.S., for an exploration of lower limb mechanics. Learn how the feet and ankles influence what is experienced in the hips and glutes and how pelvis position influences the feet. We will discuss proprioception from the ground up, and still utilize sensing, isolating, and integrating as a framework for improving movement efficiency and creating a deeper sense of embodiment. Gait mechanics will be touched upon, as well as how the feet influence common foundational movements such as the squat and hip hinge. This workshop is appropriate for movement teachers, personal trainers, and those interested in deepening their knowledge of how this area works. Class format will be lecture, practical application, and partner work. Please bring a notebook and dressed to move around.
Registration link: If you would like to be notified when registration is up, please DM me and I will let you know.
On Trails: An Exploration, by Robert Moor. “We are comfortable with the familiar, and we are comfortable with the wholly unfamiliar (which we perceive as exotic), but when the two are combined, we begin to feel unstable,” Robert Moor. A lovely book about the history of paths, with snippets of philosophy throughout.
My most recent on Medium: https://medium.com/@Trainerjen/perception-and-movement-adc604181801
Thoracic spine for Breaking Muscle: http://breakingmuscle.com/fitness/how-to-teach-your-t-spine-to-bend
A Reembody workshop review on Think Movement: http://thinkmovement.net/2017/12/07/reembody-workshop-philosophy-overview/
Yoga Research and Beyond podcast: https://www.yogaresearchandbeyond.com/four-hamstring-stretches/