About a Strong Desire To Know ThingsMar 12, 2018
If you’re interested, I’d like to share a bit of my reason for building a Pilates Encyclopedia and update you about the progress. Here goes…
The Start and the Why
In 2017, I set out to build a Pilates Encyclopedia. Am I crazy? A friend enlightened me recently by telling me about Denis Diderot, the 18th-century philosopher, art critic, and writer who wanted to “gather all the knowledge in the world” by publishing an Encyclopédie.
Oh Denis, I understand your desire to capture and collect all there is to know. Even gathering only the knowledge of a tiny field of the human experience, such as Pilates, is an incredibly daunting endeavor.
The Encyclopédie's aim was “to change the way people think and for people to be able to inform themselves and to know things.”
Yep. Definitely. I love and respect the pioneers in our field, such as PilatesAnytime and Pilatesology. They were the first ones to bring Pilates to the web and the world. How wonderful! But the one thing that I’m still missing with all those tools, is a way to quickly look up one specific exercise and get to know it better. Just like I’m looking up definitions or synonyms of words as I’m writing this.
Owning a studio and teaching 5 days a week, I don’t have the time nor energy to sit through a 45-minute long Reformer class on the computer just to find the one cue that I need to help my student in her next lesson. I have 10 minutes before my next student. I need an answer now. Let’s go. After a quick attempt to google it and looking through the list of YouTube videos and “only” learning things I already know but not getting the answer I need, I give up, frustrated.
Who Am I Anyway?
The most important thing you should know about me, to understand where the drive for this Encyclopedia is coming from, is this: I’ve always wanted to dive deeper into the how and why of each exercise. If I don’t “get” and fully understand an exercise I don’t teach it. (Hello, Stomach Massage!) To be honest, I’m not very creative. I’m not one of those teachers who invent new exercises or equipment. In that regard, I’m rather boring and dull. What fires me up though is feeling a new level of movement in my body, finding just the right cue that all of a sudden makes my student understand the C-curve.
Being a studio owner there are always a million things on my mind, and I need lists to trigger my memory, otherwise, I’ll always revert to two handfuls of my favorite exercises.
So I started to make lists that I can quickly access before a lesson to remind me of an exercise I haven’t done in a while but that might be helpful for my student.
I enjoy categorizing; I pay attention to details; I like gathering more and more knowledge about the same exercise. I’m not so interested in learning more and more exercises. I feel that would dilute my teaching. I also don’t enjoy racing through variation after variation without a purpose or goal. If I don’t know what an exercise does for me, I’m not going to do it. Call me stubborn.
That’s why the Encyclopedia is organized in this way. It strives to gather as much information about each exercise as possible on one (web)page.
I’m aware that this database is not complete, and I already - before even going live - know that many of you will not find what you are looking for. But over time, we will build it. Together. I would love for this to be an interactive experience. I’d love to learn from you. There will be a comment section at the end of each exercise description through which we can communicate, add cues, ask questions, clarify wording, etc. Oh, what fun!
Finally, Diderot - remember the French dude from the Encylcopedié - “hoped that the text could disseminate all this information to the public and future generations.”
I truly hope that the knowledge about the Pilates method will be passed down from generation to generation through this little project of mine.