This week I trained with Pilates Elder Mary Bowen for the second time. She has a home in Connecticut, so it is a wonderful opportunity to get to train with her. She is so close I wish I could afford to train with her weekly. In our lessons, she seems to talk more than to instruct exercises, but as an instructor (and a person) I learn a great deal from listening to her and attempting to absorb the wealth of information she has discovered in nearly 80-years.

What struck me most this time I met with her was her commentary on relaxing the body. I tend to be very tight, but that isn’t uncommon. We all carry tension in our neck and shoulders. We’re a society of tight hamstrings. She talked about how itching we all are as humans to move–to get going. “We’ll say, ‘Let’s Go,'” she explained. We’re always on the move; always rushing. She suggested, perhaps, we should consider, “Let’s Relax”–or maybe she said, “Let’s release.” I don’t remember, but it had the same intention. “It’s hard,” she commented. It’s true. To relax your muscles in a controlled fashion is very difficult. It’s hard to relax at will. To completely let go is a challenge–at least for me. Mary pointed out that even when going to bed, it’s good to question whether we have fully relaxed our bodies onto the pillow.

I’m not sure I’m tension free even at night. Can you try it? Pick a muscle or a section of your body? Try to completely relax it. Literally, let the tension melt away.

They are called Elders because of their experience and wisdom–a wisdom I have seen in Mary Bowen, Lolita San Miguel, and Ron Fletcher. And, if your local to Connecticut, whether a Pilates instructor or Pilates practitioner, you can take classes with Mary Bowen.