There’s a saying that Pilates instructors LOVE to tell their clients…”Pilates is easy unless your doing it right!” As with most things in fitness and in faith –if it’s “comfortable” or “easy”…it is probably not very effective. Often in my classes I teach basic movements. Some who have been doing Pilates for awhile want to do harder movements thinking that they are getting “more” or “better” Pilates by doing so.
The same can be said for some Christians. We want to move on from the basics of serving, for example, and move on to “more advanced” opportunities within the church or the faith community. There is also a tendancy to consider some sins more “beginner” than others. A ‘well-trained’ Christian admits to struggling, but not with habitual sins like addictions or sinful patterns like abuse. We sometimes assume that, as Christians, we are no longer susceptable to these sins…we might hear (0r say), “Well, I mean, I know I sin, but its not like I have other gods or worship idols…I am not an adulterer or murderer….I’ve got the basics down.” We take it for granted that our Christian brothers and sisters, like us, are “covering the basics” of the Faith- daily prayer, study, and worship. But just like Pilates, we can go through the movements without true engagement of the CORE. This can mean that as we progress further in our fitness OR faith practice that we risk injury to our bodies, to our lives. Sure, we may look like we “know what we’re doing”, but without focusing on the CORE, we are destined to be pulled, strained, and even torn.
By asking my clients to return to the “basics” from time to time, I am holding them accountable to the Principles of Pilates: Awareness, Breath, Control, Precision, Centering (core), Focus, and Flow. These Basic Movements of Pilates are intended to help a person find and strengthen their inner core. The deepest part of the muscles in the body-the core- the center- is where all other Pilates movements get their stability and control. These moves are called “basic”, “foundational” or “fundamental”…not EASY! Working on these movements is always a good practice and sometimes it is just what we need to get back in touch with our center. Now, of course, in Pilates, we strengthen with these core/foundational movements in order to do the others, so it is important to work towards the next goal, however, we do not forget these movements all together! We are contantly using these basic movments even as we “advance” to a more complex practice.
The same is true for faith. The Basic Tools of our FAITH-if done properly- do provide a foundation to build strength in the CORE for the rest of our life’s movements These “Basic Moves” increase our AWARENESS of God’s presence in our life, allow us to feel the BREATH of the Holy Spirit FLOW through us as we seek to maintain PRECISION AND CONTROL as we FOCUS on His Will for our lives. These CORE strenthening principles are always good practice and sometimes exactly what we need in order to get back in touch with that deepest part of ourselves…the part that wants to support and stabilize us in order to MOVE us BY FAITH. However, without these ‘basic’ principles in practice, we risk being pulled away from our faith, strained in the movements of our faith, or torn by the instabilities of life.
No matter how “advanced” we are…in faith or in fitness…it is always important to make sure we are moving in proper ALIGNMENT and drawing on the STRENGTH of the CORE.