Introduction to the Art and Philosophy of Movement

Episode 01

Welcome to The Pilates Exchange, a podcast that delves deep into the art and philosophy of beautiful movement mixed with evidence-based exercise science, where we challenge myths, explore concepts, and engage in healthy debate with intrigue and curiosity. In this, our first episode, you’ll meet our host Hannah Teutscher who talks about her background in dance, Pilates, yoga, and movement, before sharing her thoughts on the current state of the
movement world. Hannah shares why she believes we should be thinking holistically about how movement can help us live our lives better and challenge the unnecessary limits we put on ourselves. She sheds light on the correlation between our physical bodies and our psyche and the real reasons our clients come to us before talking about how we, as movement teachers and coaches, can better shape these experiences for them. Tune in today to find out what you
can expect from this podcast, the types of guests we’ll be interviewing, and how we are going to work to create safe environments where people can be vulnerable enough to experience the magic of transformation and presence in their bodies.


Key Points From This Episode:
• Why we should be thinking holistically about how movement can help us live our lives better.
• Thoughts on the unnecessary limits we put on ourselves.
• The correlation between our physical bodies and our psyche or emotional state.
• Insight into how we, as movement teachers and coaches, shape these experiences for our
• The real reasons people start yoga, Pilates, or other modalities of movement.
• Creating safe environments where people can be vulnerable enough to experience the magic
of transformation or presence in their bodies.
• What you can look forward to from future episodes about unlocking this magic.
• The body and perceptions of the body and how we will unpack this going forward.
• Some of the guests you can expect in future episodes.



HT: How do we shape these experiences for our clients? They come to us because they want to experience something in their body. And maybe they come to you, and first, if you ask them, they’re going to say, ‘Okay, I would like to learn Pilates.’ Okay. Or, ‘I would like to learn yoga.’ But if you dig a little bit deeper, there’s always going to be something that’s underlying their first comment of that’s just what they want to learn.”




[00:00:31] HT: Welcome. Stick around if you want to learn about the art and philosophy of beautiful movement mixed with evidence-based exercise science. We’ll be having tough and inspiring conversations with other coaches, experts, artists, and athletes. Our goal is to challenge myths, explore concepts, and engage in healthy debate, as we dive deep with intrigue and curiosity. 


I’m your host, Hannah Teutscher. I’ve been teaching dance, Pilates, and yoga for over two decades. What I’ve learned is that movement can be the joy that integrates us all together. When we can trust and express ourselves through our bodies, we are unlimited in our ability to change ourselves and our communities for the better. We, as movement teachers and coaches, have the power to help people experience this for themselves. Okay, everyone, let’s dive in. Exchanging ideas and changing people’s lives one session at a time, this is The Pilates Exchange. 




[00:01:28] HT: I just have a lot of thoughts about what’s going on in the movement world, how we can be better teachers and even better practitioners all the time. I don’t think that we are thinking holistically about how movement can help us live our lives a little bit better. I think when we are teaching different modalities, say, it’s yoga or Pilates, it really doesn’t even matter what it is, we put too many boundaries on what that container looks like. I think this limits the potential of what we could experience in our bodies, really the capacity, the movement potential because, yes, it’s exactly what it is. It’s a limit. 


We have an idea what a shape has to be like, has to look like. If we’re not careful, we try to fit our clients into whatever that shape is. When we do that, say, in any modality, but let’s take Pilates, for example. You take a Pilates exercise like rolling like a ball. Now, rolling like a ball isn’t actually for everyone. So if you’re constantly thinking that rolling like a ball or rolling back sometimes is called is the end-all-be-all, this one shape, one dynamic shape albeit. But if it has to look that certain way, we’ve maybe narrowed down that experience for that client. 


For example, what if your client has a rod in their back, fused spine because of scoliosis? Well, obviously, that exercise isn’t going to be available for them, right? I know we know this as movement teachers. But sometimes, we have these ideas, these limitations that we pass on to our clients if we say, “Okay, this exercise is essential. This one is really important because X, Y, and Z.” No, they’re all important.


All of this different exploration of the body is interesting and important to try to experience. So it’s not the shape of rolling like a ball. It’s what the experience is. So how the vestibular system, for example, is being challenged in such a dynamic exercise like rolling like a ball. You’re rolling backwards for that. For some people, that’s really, really scary. But what if the rolling isn’t happening? How can we mimic that some other way? 


All of these sorts of things are what go through in my head. There’s the movement containers, right? Those are the modalities. There’s the actual experience of the movement. I think that both of them are interesting, right? The container of the modality. What are those shapes? What are the ways that they come together? Why did the founder of that movement, method, pick those exercises or those shapes to put together? Like that’s one thing. 


But then there’s the other thing, the actual movement. What can we experience in our bodies within that movement? So it’s not just this muscle is working. Let’s engage our thighs. Let’s do – it’s something else. It’s something like where does the conscious thought stop and the experiential part of our body, how are we experiencing it. Not just the muscle fibers contracting but what sort of force does that create in the body? 


I mean, not muscular force, but how does it feel to you to have a strong leg? Like emotionally, what does that do to you? How does that affect you psychologically if after training, your legs feel very strong or if they feel very weak? How does it affect you on a long-term basis to experience maybe pushing against the boundaries or the limits of what you thought your body could offer you and seeing a strength gain? Or maybe it’s something different. Maybe you’re experiencing a decline in your strength for some reason, age or health. How does that affect you? How does that affect the way that you’re approaching your body, your movement in the world? Because our bodies, right, those are the – that’s the seed of the soul. 


So whatever we’re experiencing are in our bodies. How our bodies are moving in the world is what is also going to be affecting our psyche, our emotional state. When we’re there, it’s much deeper than just being a body in the environment but how do we affect other people? How are our relationships with one another then affected by how we are experiencing ourselves in our bodies? 


I don’t know. I think it’s just – it’s an interesting jumping-off point to explore. Yes, so this is more than just Pilates. It’s more than ballet or yoga or even a different form of – it’s bigger than the difference between Ashtanga Yoga and Iyengar Yoga. It’s different than BASI Pilates and Stott Pilates, for example. It’s just names there. I think that we’re talking about universal experiences and then also really macro and micro. We’re in charge of our own little micro experiences there. 


Then like what’s really fascinating as movement teachers and coaches is how do we shape these experiences for our clients. They come to us because they want to experience something in their body, and maybe they come to you. First, if you ask them, they’re going to say, “Okay, I would like to learn Pilates.” Okay. Or, “I would like to learn yoga.” But if you dig a little bit deeper, there’s always going to be something that’s underlying their first comment of that’s what just what they want to learn. 


So maybe it’s something else, maybe that they’re looking for stress relief. Maybe they’re looking to get a little bit stronger because they would need to get down on the floor and off the floor to play with their grandkids. Maybe it’s because they had some sort of health scare, and they’re looking to take preventative physical measures. There’s like that aspect of it that’s always the second level maybe down. 


If we keep on digging as teachers and coaches, maybe the third is more about how they want to experience life in their bodies. What sort of freedom are they looking for or power or vulnerability or maybe just getting in touch with something that’s deeper? There are so many different aspects of why people show up in the training room. 


So then the question comes back to what do we do? What do we do with all these different ways of partaking in movement? I think that’s fascinating. It’s more. It’s deeper than counting out repetitions of certain exercises. I think it’s creating safe environments where people can be vulnerable enough to experience the thing in their body. 


We may not always need to be talking about it with our clients, but it has to be enough space, enough silence in there that they get to experience that magic for themselves, that magic of transformation or presence. Like we’ve all been there, this magical moment, this presence where it feels like time has just slowed down. You are thinking about nothing else but in that very singular moment. That’s a gift. That is a gift for our clients that we can give them because it’s just so freaking rare these days to be in an environment where you could be distraction-free or just present and really present.


So how are we going to do that? Well, I think there’s many, many tools to be able to create these experiences. It got coming down to powerful questioning and creating safe environments and understanding what the underlying purpose is for what’s the goal, what’s the outcome that they’re looking for. When we do that, then we’re better able to answer it as teachers and coaches. 


We’re going to get it in future podcasts. We’re going to go pretty deep on all of those different tools and perspectives from other movement professionals and athletes, and see how we can maybe unlock a little bit of what is that magic. How can we create this? How can we repeatedly create it? Because it’s not just when it’s a one-off. That’s not good for us. But if we know what’s working, then we can create these results for our clients, and our students, our athletes. That’s powerful. That is why we do what we do, for sure. 


We’re also going to be maybe doing a little unpacking about the body, about perceptions of the body, about history perhaps of those perceptions, and how social media or just media in general has really altered and influenced the way that we feel about ourselves. So there’s a lot to unpack there. It’s way beyond just interesting questions. I think it’s essential for us to be considering the larger context of the – yes, it’s the environment that we’re feeding on, right? So we just have so many different influences that are – we’re bombarded from these images that the media is producing for us. It becomes more rapid and vapid perhaps when we’re consuming social media. 


So a good teacher is going to be able to understand the context of what that is and also what we have to fight against because we can’t help our clients get healthy if we don’t understand at least a tiny bit of the source of their unhappiness. 


I don’t think it’s the root cause of all evil. I think media and social media, I think there’s very many beautiful things that come along with it. When it’s done well, there’s an interconnectedness with all of humanity. I think it’s a place where we can celebrate physical feats and the human achievements, and also get in contact with vulnerability. But if we’re not careful, there’s a superficiality to that end. Like I said, it’s not the root of all evil, but it is certainly a very powerful and sometimes corrupt force that we’re up against. 


So we’ll have some people on this podcast that are going to be helping us unpack what that means and unpack how we can rather than just contribute to the noise that’s out there, but use our little corners of the world of the Internet to make that a better safer place. 


I’ll be hosting all of these podcasts. You’ll have solo podcasts with me. You’re also going to have my husband, Christian, up here with me. We’re just going to be talking through some of the things that we’ve experienced, maybe unpack some dance stuff, and generally have a good time because, oh, it’s a lot of silliness between the both of us. So even though we’re going to be going deep, we’re also going to have some light-hearted fun. 


I’ll be inviting some guests on here that have more medical backgrounds. We’re having artists. We’re having dancers, choreographers, and coaches. We have you. We have a lot of different leaders in their fields that we’ve asked to be part of this. I’m really excited to introduce you to them. Then we’re going to invite some athletes. We have Olympic athletes. We have professional athletes. 


I think it’s important to look at all different aspects of training, of movement, and see what we can learn from each other from these different modalities and different perspectives, right? We’re all going to value different things. The wider we can throw our net to understand these different perspectives, I think we can only gain from that. There’s nothing to be lost by understanding what other people are going through or how they’re experiencing it. So I’m really excited. I think it’s going to be a grand adventure and a lot planned, a lot to uncover, and a lot to discover. 


So thank you for joining me today. Next week, we got some good stuff going on. So I’m excited to introduce you to that. Have a fantastic day. I’d encourage you to go out and do one beautiful movement, at least, just for yourself. Have a good one. Bye-bye. 




[00:15:30] HT: Thank you so much for joining us today. I hope you enjoyed the conversation. A great cost-free way of supporting us and the podcast would be to give us a five-star rating. You could also look down into the show notes and grab any one of the free resources for teachers. I hope to see you next week on The Pilates Exchange. Happy teaching, everyone.



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