Efficiency: Should it Always be the Goal?

Teaching Pilates has made me realize that the more I know, the more I don’t know. With any profession, hobby or skill set I am sure that’s the case. After ten years of teaching, I finally feel that I have a true understanding of the way the body works and how to help people achieve their goals. Regardless, I will always find a way to learn new things even in the most unexpected places. 

My current love is efficiency in movement. I have researched and experimented with how to make both my Pilates practice and life more efficient. Let’s say I am working with a client and we are doing feet in straps. The most efficient way to perform this exercise is to hinge from the hips and bring the legs up and down with ease and grace. If the client would tense up all of their muscles to do this relatively simple movement, they could potentially lose degrees of range and overexert themselves. It’s like cleaning my house in high heel shoes. I can definitely make it happen, but why would I waste time and energy walking around in those things when I can make my body work less to do the same thing in bare feet. 

This brings me to a new thought… is efficiency always the right choice? I learned the answer in the most unusual place: checking the mail. When I get my mail the most efficient way to do this is to walk a straight line to the box, take the mail out, and walk back inside. However, when I ask my 9-year-old daughter to do this same task she takes twice as long, because she cartwheels, finds a rock to throw, balances on the ledge of the curb and opens the mail box with her foot. Now, we both executed the same task, but Hazel took more time and effort and had way more fun accomplishing the same function.

So translating this to yourself you have to, like all things, decide your intention in doing a certain thing. What is your goal? In exercise and chores, efficiency might be the answer. What about everything else? It would be more efficient to take a picture of something than to paint it. It would be more efficient to buy meat at the store than to go hunting in the woods. It would be more efficient to walk across the stage than to dance across. It would be more efficient to use a computer program to compose a song than to learn how to play the piano. If you are looking to do all things in life fast and easy, you could lose joy and zest. Efficiency is the right choice when you need it to be.

Becky Phares, NCPT is a Polestar Pilates Graduate, Practitioner and contributor to the Polestar Life Weekly Blog.  With more than 10 years of teaching Becky teaches at her studio The Body Initiative Pilates Studio in Lafayette, Louisiana.  Find Becky and her Studio on Facebook: The body Initiative Pilates Studio and Instagram @the_body_initiative_ .

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.