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Practice as a path of discovery and transformation

Claudia Pogliani

Pilates teacher, Hatha Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga, Yin Yoga, PancafitMilan


My research journey begins first of all by listening to myself. Since I was a teenager I began to attend dance courses and other activities in the gym, exploring with curiosity the practice of many different disciplines.


I began to reflect on a perhaps “premature” intuition that if the mind is “bothered” by some external event, it was possible to bring it “home” through the movement of the body.

The opposite was equally true: when the body showed "discomfort" it was necessary to draw attention to it or to a particular point, to return to re-establish the 'balance and therefore a condition of well-being.

Already in that period I was often subject to severe headaches that forced me to suspend any activity to isolate myself and lie down in the dark with my eyes covered.< /p>

I noticed that I was breathing very very slowly and moving my attention and perception to another point of the body, different from the painful one, also through the help of a " weight", for example a heavy blanket placed on the feet, the symptom eased until it gradually diminished and disappeared.

Many years later I discovered Soulspension and in my personal practice I immediately found all those small body-mind-breath connection strategies that I was already applying on myself, it was It was immediately clear that the addition of a tool to lie on made them even more effective.

A circle between awareness of the mind and feeling of the body, which at the center found many important facets: knowing how to listen and observe, also through practical "experiments" to make contact in profound and new way compared to the usual way that makes us inhabit the body in an "obvious" and superficial way.

In one word? LOVE. The love for the preciousness of our body, which gives us the curiosity and motivation to observe, approach and understand its silent mechanisms.

And it is only when we dedicate time, interest, passion and regularity that the effects of our actions take shape.

Also in those years, following repeated knee injuries, I committed to constant and continuous self-practice to recover strength and stability through the Pilates method. This regular practice led me to want to go beyond the superficial layer of muscles, joints and bones and I also started practicing Yoga, paying even more attention to my breathing. I felt that my body was changing, my posture was opening up, my breathing was allowing me to improve in quality.

So over the years I have studied these methods of postural rebalancing from Pilates to Yoga and other postural methods with various teacher training courses, which then led me to discover Soulspension, first as a personal practice tool and then choosing to undertake teacher training.

Always in my personal practice I immediately began to integrate Pilates, Yoga and Soulspension to achieve relaxation, openness, mobility and flexibility.

For everything that I teach with passion today, the first step has always been to practice firsthand and fully understand the effects of a method, although each with the same practice you experience different and subjective levels of awareness on your own body.

OBSERVATIONS DURING THE YEARS OF TEACHING

Over the years of teaching I realized that many people began to practice because after years of incorrect postures maintained in daily life and at work, they began to receive signals from their body of discomfort which they then "translated" as the need to tone up, train, relax or get back into physical shape to feel better. What most people have in common is not having full awareness of their body understood as an integrated system of multiple parts and of how fundamental and important breathing is.

I observed that not being used to making the breathing act aware led people to find it difficult to simply pay attention to its phases - inhalation and exhalation - until to find oneself in confusion or even in complete apnea.

Combining my personal and professional path, what I had been able to observe when working in contact with people was the need to start from the simple, and then go on to "layer" information gradually more complex in practical work on the body, often using examples and visualizations taken from everyday life. What does it mean to start over from the simple?

It means learning everything again, even the most banal gestures, through careful repetition and practical experience just like children do.

Learn to feel your feet, learn to feel what happens while walking and in the same way begin to breathe consciously.

Yes, because most physical ailments come from a "closure" of the body due to excessive muscular and emotional tension and external/internal stress factors closely connected to everything what is unleashed on a physiological level in our body, to the point of seeing physical symptoms emerge such as: tachycardia, gastritis, insomnia, nervousness, irritability, poor concentration, poor mental clarity, headaches, joint blockages... etc.

Very often the body signals these imbalances to us by turning on alarm "lights" which, however, are often ignored or silenced, immediately silencing the symptom perhaps with a painkiller without trying to understand its origin.

Illnesses always connected to the lack of habit of perceiving the body and all its parts at the same time, as integrated into a single harmonious system.

SOULSPENSION APPROACH

Soulspension is an apparently simple tool which however can give us the key to the depth of our body and our mind, understood as expanded intelligence, widespread in the body and not located only in the brain.

In my experience as a teacher I have been able to see different reactions from the students: those who started from the body thinking they could find well-being solely in muscular effort and fatigue, to arrive to understand with practice on Soulspension that it is possible to reach the dimension of slowing down, relaxing and listening.

On the other hand, those who by nature are calmer and oriented towards not making effort, and therefore by nature more similar to knowing how to "stay", have explored contact with their own body, discovering beauty of the slow, harmonious, fluid movement which between breathing and the weight of the body itself generates a relaxing and liberating self-massage that is anything but tiring.

Someone else started from a feeling of little pleasure in practicing on an instrument initially seen as "hostile and uncomfortable". Perception due to the close encounter and the awareness of the rigidity of one's own body, which over the years had been hidden, masked, ignored, compensated and removed and which in an instant, in the simple gesture of lying down, were brought to the surface and observed by Neighbor. However, this approach was also an important step of transformation for those who slowly learned not to run away from that feeling of discomfort, until they felt that their blocks, approached gently, changed week after week, softened, attenuated and cleared up. until it disappears.

This too is part of the path of knowledge and transformation of one's body-mind.

Once the resistance and rigidity on a mental level had been overcome, Soulspension became a moment of abandonment, accepted with the initial compromise of reaching the end of the practice with an effect "lightness" perceived throughout the body.

So this tool proved to be versatile and effective for everyone, regardless of whether the practitioners were athletes or people far removed from the world of sport or other physical activities, regardless of whether from age.

RESULTS COME FROM CONSISTENCY

The common denominator for achieving a condition of balance and lasting well-being is always consistency.

In all areas what leads to tangible results and progress is practice, perseverance, curiosity and perhaps also the desire to apply a little imagination, experiment and discover. Because practice is above all a personal discovery and everyone finds their unique path day after day.

If we pay attention, the body teaches us; and what we learn from the body happens slowly beyond rational thought patterns. Everything in our body is already prepared, we just need to dedicate some time so that all the parts begin to communicate in a functional, fluid and harmonious way.

EXERCISES, BREATHS AND IMAGES

I was able to do great work also through the integrated practice of Soulspension and different methods: Pilates, Yoga, Thai massage, meditation/visualization practices and Mindfulness to discover a awareness that reaches the body passing through images.

Improving action through visualization.

Learning to stand is an exercise as important as moving, but much more difficult because it depends on mental stillness.

Through Soulspension it was considerably easier to reach all those people who had always distanced themselves from meditation because it was "too difficult", "it's not for me", "too slow" or "boring".

The visualizations or guided meditations on the body constituted from time to time a precious moment of the lessons, a sort of "journey" of discovery, a listening awaited as a final cuddle post practice, to change mode and move with pleasure from the mode of doing to the mode of being and listening. With that curiosity in observing the details that only tourists know how to have.

SUPPORT REGULAR SPORTS ACTIVITY WITH THE PILATES METHOD, INTEGRATING WITH SOULSPENSION PRACTICE

Many students who regularly practiced sports/disciplines such as cycling, running, dancing, horse riding had come to practice the Pilates method to integrate and rebalance posture and excessive muscle load .

They often brought back sensations of muscle pain, contractures, pain attributable to incorrect postures or repeated gestures during training or even bad breathing, excessive load and tension only on some parts of the body.

In fact, it is not enough to train regularly; in addition to the technical gesture characteristic of each sport, it is obviously necessary to pay attention to the body and its constant balance: maintaining a correct posture of the spine allows good flow of the respiratory act.

The use of Soulspension made it simple and evident for students to observe the imbalances between the right and left sides of the body, in terms of posture, tone and muscle strength . Being able to feel, through physical contact with the instrument, that the breath moves 360° not only in the chest, not only in the abdomen but also in the back with effects that spread to the extremities.

So we integrated into their sports training routine the regular practice of the Pilates method and little by little small sequences on Soulspension which from short moments - 10/15 minutes - then became entire lessons dedicated.

PRACTICE

Working individually or in groups for convenience I have jotted down mini protocols, a simple guideline, without deliberately going into detail precisely because self-practice must arrive from the depths and instead the practice with a teacher must be clear, technical but also fluid, malleable and customizable in response to the profound feeling of the student which changes from time to time, exactly as the body changes moment after moment, since the sensation of well-being it is an unstable equilibrium and must be continually reviewed, readjusted and recalculated.

Before SPORTS training, short Soulspension session: -self-practice- performed as a warm-up of the joints, opening of the posture, breathing and mental centering.

Post SPORT training: helps to internalize the benefits of the sporting activity carried out. Listen to the parts of the body that are sore or very activated, through small targeted unblocking and stretching sequences to release tension even with the use of light dumbbells, elastic, yoga strap, ball.

postural SEQUENCE

involves phases of pre-practice static and dynamic observation, execution of pre- and post-practice static and dynamic “test” movements to verify improvement. On Soulspension:


  • * While sitting, centering of the hip bones, spinal posture and breathing width. TEST: Listening without Soulspension and collecting perceptions

  • *Lying down: Listening to the rhythm of breathing and its amplitude

  • Unlocking the cervical and lumbar area

  • Mobilization of shoulders, wrists, hips and ankles

  • Simple postural suspension (cushions, stool) with light movements on the tool to exercise balance and alertness

  • Auto-manipulations to unlock the iris


TEST: Listening body on the ground without Soulspension and collecting perceptions

END OF PRACTICE TEST: Listening to the body after practice and collecting perceptions from the static and mobile standing position.

Meditation Sequence:

centering and concentration (blindfold) 2-stroke breathing with weight on the abdomen guided body scan technical breathing with full pause, after a few cycles you move on to 4-stroke breathing return to natural breathingguided visualizations

Sequence with supports:

Passive positions held (3-5 minutes) leaning on a support (chair, pillows, blankets..) favors the deep release of the connective tissue, always with a focus on breathing diaphragmatic.

SHOWER" SEQUENCE to restore general well-being - guided by the teacher: approximately 45 minutes slow and detailed 360° practice from head to toe *using small Pilates tools for support (balls, stick, elastic, ball and large ball)

Maintenance/habit of listening to breathing: -self-practice-

Create a welcoming and peaceful practice environment: soft lights, optional essential oil or incense, background music to carve out a moment of personal well-being.

Daily self-practice of 10/15 minutes in the morning as a muscle awakening or in the evening for a good rest.

Useful for having continuity between one session and another of Pilates and/or other physical activity, to eliminate daily tensions due to incorrect postures (e.g. at the PC, driving....etc). Listen to the phases of breathing, making them wide and slow.

Unlocking the cervical area, shoulders, trapezius, hips, pelvis.

Massage to unblock the diaphragm.

MY OUTSIDE OBSERVATIONS AS A TEACHER

During the lessons I always observed how the expression of the students changed before, during and after the practice, noticing how the amplitude of the movement of the abdomen changed during breathing .

Once the lesson was over, I compared the posture compared to the beginning which was more open, the facial expression more relaxed, the eyes and the color of the face brighter and bright. The tone of voice was also much calmer and the way of speaking was clearer and slower. GENERAL OBSERVATIONS REPORTED BY STUDENTS:

Experiences reported by various Pilates students who use Soulspension to integrate a regular training routine (e.g. football, running, cycling, dance):< /p>

clear sensation of having achieved greater openness, fluidity, mobility, muscular and joint balance, less soreness after physical activity or soreness which, if present, was alleviated in less time with a faster recovery therefore better performance.

Shoulder and back posture with clear improvements, due both to the opening exercises and to a clear perception of the position of the shoulders, neck and head.

Greater lightness on the lumbar and cervical area, where chronic pain has eased and/or disappeared.

Greater mental concentration on work and improved general posture with less tiredness, a more relaxed mood as a consequence of being able to carry out physical activity with pleasure and satisfaction or simply taking a break relaxation and breathing at the beginning or end of the day with self-practice, which has become an essential moment of care even when traveling/away/holiday.

STUDENTS' EXCLAMATIONS POST PRACTICE ON SOULSPENSION

As if re-emerging from another dimension, they ended the lesson by exclaiming: "I feel new" "I'm flying!" "I needed a bit of relaxation" "I feel reborn" ” “I feel taller” “more open”“lighter”“I feel rested... as if I had slept a whole day” “now I'm flying back to work!!!”“now it's a whole different story”“ I feel open, wide open” “now the weekend can really begin” All statements, at times even funny and funny, pronounced with such clarity and a smile on the lips...everyone in their own way perceived through renewed images of themselves, new information from body, as if they had suddenly taken off the weights, heaviness and armor that kept their true luminous dimension clouded.

FINAL CONSIDERATIONS

In my essay I wanted to collect and tell in a simple way what I had the opportunity to observe about myself and others regarding the Soulspension practice: we have all undertaken a sort of external and internal transformation process, both physical and mental.

I would also add that in this last period, where everyone due to the Covid pandemic has had to stay at home for many months without much possibility of "venting", we had to and could

rediscover the importance of carving out moments of abandonment during the day: relaxation, care and centering, in order to be able to face unexpected and new situations day after day that in some way they pushed us towards new levels of awareness.

Soulpension has once again proven to be a precious tool, accessible to all and in its simplicity very versatile in being able to be integrated with many other methods and disciplines, making the possibility to adapt to the physical needs of those who choose it as an ally for their physical and internal well-being, therefore regardless of their personal path, physical abilities and age.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I thank my teacher Patrizia Gavoni for accompanying me along another important stretch of my personal and professional growth journey.

I thank all my students who confidently let themselves be guided to discover a new feeling and remained pleasantly surprised.

Finally, I also dedicate thanks to my curiosity, which leads me by the hand to research, meet, study and learn about new things because learning and being a student never ends never.


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