08 Oct What is contrology?
We return to the origin of Pilates: its founder’s vision of complete coordination of body, mind and spirit
Joseph Pilates originally called his method Contrology. In the 1930s and 1940s, Joseph Pilates published writings on his philosophy of attaining mortal perfection through “bodily perfections”. He believed there was a way to develop the physique to high levels of strength and beauty, under the control of the mind – and named this method “Contrology.”
What is Contrology? According to Frederick Rand Rogers, President of the North American Physical Fitness Institute, “Contrology is an ideal system to transform the body into a perfect instrument of the will.” Rogers believes it is “kinesiologically proper, physiologically sound and psychologically correct.” “I have personal knowledge of its success in effecting astonishing results,” he said.
Complete coordination of body, mind and spirit
According to Pilates, Contrology is complete coordination of body, mind and spirit. Through it, you first purposefully acquire complete control of your own body. Subsequently, through proper repetition of exercises, practitioners gradually and progressively acquire that natural rhythm and coordination associated with subconscious activities. To Pilates, this true rhythm is that which wild animals already naturally possess.
What does Contrology do?
- Develops the body uniformly
- Corrects wrong postures
- Restores physical vitality
- Invigorates the mind
- Elevates the spirit
What went wrong and how Contrology can fix it
In childhood, Pilates believed that we all enjoyed the benefits of natural and normal physical development, with rare exceptions. However, as we mature, we find ourselves living in bodies that don’t complement our ego. Symptoms of this involve slumped bodies, stooped shoulders, hollow eyes, flabby muscles and lowered or vanished vitality.
Why does this happen? Pilates believed this was the result of not having uniformly developed all the muscles of our trunk, spine, arms and legs in the course of pursuing our daily tasks. Therefore, he created Contrology as a technique for humans to “return to life” by doing a specific set of exercises around four times a week for three months. But that’s only the beginning…
Mind over muscle
One of the major results of Contrology is gaining mastery of one’s mind for complete control of the body. Even trained athletes have been surprised to discover how few Contrology exercises they were able to execute properly, demonstrating the real difficulty of attaining “true mental mastery”.
“Ideally, our muscles should obey our will,” stated Pilates. “Reasonably, our will should not be dominated by the reflex actions of our muscles.” Thus, Contrology begins with the mind’s control over our muscles.
By awakening thousands upon thousands of otherwise dormant muscle cells, Contrology correspondingly reawakens thousands of inert brain cells, thus activating new areas and further stimulating the mind’s ability to function.
Blood to the brain
Anatomically, the continuous use of Contrology gradually increases pure rich blood to flow to and circulate through the brain with corresponding stimulation to new brain areas previously latent. More significantly, it actually develops more brain cells!
As the great American psychologist G. Stanley Hall once said, “The culture of muscles is brain-building.”
Ready to get started on your journey to modern-day Contrology? There’s no better place to begin than the 30 Day Pilates Body Challenge from 14 October – 30 November 2019 at Flex Studio Hong Kong. For more details, click here.