A common discussion point came up in both my recent meetings with Elders Ron Fletcher and Mary Bowen: improv. Ron Fletcher had us improv after doing exercises and ended each workshop day with improvisational body movement.

Mary Bowen talked about moving the body the way it wants, finding positions that feel good, and had me “play” on what is called a ladder to stretch my shoulders. “Try this,” she said, showing me one way to hang onto the ladder. “And this. Move one arm up and the other down.” She wanted me to play with my body and discover what felt good and what didn’t. I think one position I wound up in struck her as odd. She has reason to think so. It didn’t feel good.

Pilates is all about control, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be silly or play or try new and different movements. The more you learn about your body, the more control you will have. So play or improvise–whatever you prefer to call it. Just never stop learning about your own body and what it can do.