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  • Writer's pictureNicki Thiel

The Life of Pi-lates

Updated: Aug 16, 2018

“I am a person who believes in form, in the harmony of order. Where we can, we must give things a meaningful shape.”

~Yann Martel, Life of Pi

I remember the emotions I felt when I first read this statement. A sense of coming home, familiarity, a tone resonated deep inside me saying, “THIS, this is your belief system!”




Meaningful Shape…

It was as if everything I had ever done in life brought me to this statement and everything I would do afterward would confirm the truth of two simple sentences found at the end of a fabulous book.

I could break down my epiphany to include categories of religion, society, home, nutrition, theater, dance, athletics and on and on… who knows, maybe someday I will. For today, my subject is Pilates and the words that popped off the page in Yann Martel’s Life of Pi.


The beauty of a human is not found in what the world advertises on a magazine cover. Beauty, for someone like me, is recognized deep in the form of Fascia, Muscle, and Bone. It’s like a child’s game of Connect the Dots. Step by step a picture emerges and “form” is given. Watching a person learn how to draw the lines and create a personal, meaningful shape is akin to witnessing the creation of a work of art. After all, aren’t we?


Harmony occurs when the dots animate and become movement. When a dot is forgotten and left out of the picture, harmony is frustrated and dysfunction and imbalance skew the image. As front, back, side, top, and bottom work together artistry comes to life. Shoes are tied and mountains are climbed. Walking, dancing, and housework can all be better appreciated when our body is free to move harmoniously.


Order of operations is a common concept in math and should also be essential information for movement. But, as many challenges in our modern world, movement is being pushed to extremes and the body, muscles and joints are left to suffer the consequences. Injury and/or pain result. The flip side to extreme movement is extreme lack of movement. Sadly, those who underutilize their body are at risk to lose the ability to move.

Order expanded is “If this, then that.” If only large muscle groups (global mobilizers) are worked, smaller, stabilizing muscles will be bypassed and left out of the picture. It would be like leaving over half of the dots disconnected. The form and harmony would be compromised.

Meaningful Shape

I believe the body is a gift. A gift meant to be utilized to create a better world. A world with meaning, order, harmony and form. Use your body! Create a meaningful shape and watch as the internal shape of your mind and soul change to match. They are also part of the picture, adding dimension to an otherwise flat, two dimensional object. By changing how we feel in our body we have the ability to change how we act in our we are and who we can become.

What choices are you making to have your body serve you and the world around you for a lifetime?

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