Have you thought about why you’re doing the exercise you’re doing?
“Our only hope, our only peace is to understand it, to understand the `why.’ `Why’ is what separates us from them, you from me. `Why’ is the only real source of power, without it you are powerless.”
– The Merovingian
Yes, I’m a giant nerd for quoting The Matrix Reloaded but it’s a good quote and one that I totally agree with. Why do you do what you do? For example, why do you do GYROTONIC® training? What are you training for? To get better at doing GYROTONIC® exercises? Well unless you’ve secretly found a way to go out and get paid for performing Gyrotonic exercises, you’ll have to agree the answer is “No”. So if you’re not taking Gyrotonic training sessions to become better at Gyrotonic exercises, what are you training for?
You’re training to get better at being you. At being you when you’re playing with your kids. At being you when you’re doing work around the house. At being you when you have to sit through interminably long meetings. At being you when you’re enjoying a night out with your significant other.
Not one client has come to me because they want to get good at Gyrotonic exercises.
Gyrotonic training is a tool. It is the means to get to an ends and the ends are you moving and feeling better the 165 hours per week that you’re not in the studio/gym. You’re asked to work hard during your training session, to notice and improve on fine details of the motions and to breathe in specific patterns depending on the exercise. You can just follow instructions and essentially mimic your way through your workout and you will make gains. Or, you can gain power by knowing the why. On the macro scale it’s so your body can naturally and easily respond to the demands placed on it throughout the remainder of the week. Strength, flexibility & integrated breathing help you to be free from pain and discomfort and help you to perform the activities you enjoy with purpose and precision.
It’s good to know your why on the micro scale too.
You’ve got your macro picture down. You’re taking Gyrotonic training sessions to become better at life.
Go deeper, dig, explore, be curious and most importantly, be present. If you’re considering the why of every exercise, not just why you’re doing it but why you’re doing it in this specific manner, why you’re asked to do some specific little detail, your mind will be active, working, taking in information and assimilating it, getting more finely tuned. You’ll be learning more than a movement, you’ll be learning how to move AND how to learn how to move.
Here’s a great concrete example of the why of a specific movement/exercise. The exercise demonstrated below is called “scissors”. Straight legs going in opposite directions. At it’s core it’s quite simple. You could leave it there and just by doing scissors your body will gain. But know your why and your gains will increase greatly.
I recently had a client doing scissors who wasn’t purposely engaging his quads, they weren’t really active and I asked him to engage his quads more. He asked why and I kept it simple by saying “To keep the knee straight.” He responded that he didn’t need to engage the quads the level I was asking to keep his knee straight and he was partially correct. His leg would have stayed fairly straight without the purposeful engagement of the quads. Here is where I got deep into knowing the why.
[su_pullquote class=”pullquote”]Without purpose, we would not exist. It is purpose that guides us, that drives us, that defines us.[/su_pullquote]Why was he doing scissors? What was the purpose? It’s an exercise, correct? One of the primary purposes of any resistance training exercise is to strengthen something. In scissors the quads aren’t the prime mover, so what he said about it not being “necessary” is partially correct but it’s also incomplete.
Scissors are a straight leg exercise. How do you straighten (extend) your knee? By using your quads. When else do you extend your knee? Only every single step you’ll take your entire life. Knee extension is a primary movement in being bipedal and therefore you want to be good at it. So teach your brain to use the right muscles in the right order to get the job done. If your knee is going to be straight, STRAIGHTEN YOUR KNEE! Use your quads, engage them purposefully. Strengthen them. Be in your exercise, pay attention.
Because at some point you won’t be paying attention and you’ll step in an irregular way or on an uneven surface and you’re going to want your body to know what to do automatically and with purpose. By paying attention to your details when you’re purposely moving your body in very specific patterns with resistance, you’re teaching your body something it will remember. Your body will know your why even when your conscious attention is on something else. And you won’t get injured.