What is Contrology?

By Paul Meripol

Joe Pilates didn’t call the system of health, fitness, and well-being that he invented “Pilates.” He called it “Contrology.”

It was the art of control of the body, the mind, and the spirit.

I like that name and kind of wish we still called it that, because it makes sense to me.

Pilates in its essence is simple, we control some parts of the body while we move other parts.

When we move our legs, often against resistance, we use our powerhouse to control our hips. When we move our arms, we use muscles of our shoulder girdle to control our shoulders. Sometimes we move our spine and hips while we control our legs. But it’s simple, we control some parts while we move other parts.

Try this:

  • Lay on your back with your legs in tabletop position.
  • Feel your shoulder blades resting on the mat.
  • Feel your tail bone heavy on the mat and your weight even on both sides of your bottom.
  • Now hold your left leg perfectly quiet while you move your right leg to the right.
  • That is, let your right knee and lower leg lower sideways toward the floor.
  • Pull the leg back up to tabletop.
  • Do it a few times.
  • Notice what happens to your bottom.

Do your feel your left side lifting up a bit?

And maybe your left knee is trying to fall to the left a bit your right leg drops to the right?

Now we are going to practice Contrology.

  • Lower your bent right leg to the floor again but this time focus on your left side tummy.
  • Keep it strong.
  • Work to keep weight on that left side of your bottom as you drop your right leg and pull it up.
  • Let the leg fall only as far as you can control keeping your weight even on both sides of your hips and your left knee just above your left hip.

Feel how that changes the movement?

Now you are practicing Contrology!