Classes are small allowing the instructor to assist each student to optimize their alignment through verbal as well as hands-on corrections. They combine stretching with both low load motor control and high speed or high load strength training.
Low Load vs. High Load Training
Repetitive movements ingrain neural pathways, allowing them to become habitual. Low load motor control training helps to refine muscle co-ordination, improving one’s efficiency of movement. High speed or high load strength training doesn’t necessarily ensure integrity of movement; being physically strong and powerful doesn’t translate into efficient motor control.
Moving into Trust
Habitual movement patterns are often out-dated protective mechanisms that no longer serve. To overcome protective mode and form new constructive patterns of movement, the body needs to feel safe. In a relaxed state, the body is able to explore new territory and build dynamic strength.
Being a non-competitive environment, BI encourages people to trust their own instinct and stop movements that don’t feel right. Pushing past the point of sustainable structural integrity allows old compensational patterns to re-emerge. Re-establishing trust in one’s own body opens a door to explore previously inaccessible movements.
“I always look forward to Meret's class: I can arrive feeling scattered but when I leave I feel centered, physically aligned, calm, and ready for my week. Meret's classes are small so she can focus on each participant, gently correcting alignment in each movement we do, and this careful attention helps me feel safely held in class. After a year of classes my body has become strong, and I am so much more aware of how I carry myself.
What I also love about Meret is that she always seems to be learning new skills, and incorporates them into her classes. She has a calm way about her, there is no pressure to do things you feel you can't, and she inspires confidence.”
- Jeanne Viall
Movement, Thinking and Feeling
BI is a mindful movement practice, in which students are encouraged to focus on the sensory experience of the movements in a non-judgmental way. The benefit thereof can spill over into all aspects of our lives.
“The mere fact of bringing attention back to the body, consistently returning to the present moment, allows us to detach from our daily story. When the mind wonders the body falls back into old patterns that don’t necessarily serve it. Therefore, in class, we focus on bringing our attention back to what is happening in the here and now.”
Physical grounding and centring, goes hand in hand with emotional grounding and centring.
“(BI) Exercises challenge me and help to achieve balance. This inner balance helps me to bring outward circumstances into balance. The practice helps me to navigate through very difficult times. I may be falling apart but I come to class, I find inner equilibrium and wholeness and I have clarity and power to deal with challenges.”
- Vlada Meyer
Challenging situations often trigger an unconscious reaction. It is desirable to inhibit and replace that impulse with a conscious response.
“Based on evidence, many researchers believe the inhibitory mechanisms that control movement are also used to suppress thoughts, emotions and decisions that are potentially harmful.”
“In the context of everyday emotional life, inhibition allows you to make measured responses to stressful events.”
Todd Hargrove (A Guide to Better Movement)
By correcting ‘weak-links’ in the body’s movement chain and optimising neuro-muscular patterns, regular attendance of BI classes can decrease the risk of injury.
BI is an appropriate form of exercise for women during and after pregnancy, provided a series of modified exercises are followed based on the mother’s stage of pregnancy and fitness level. All BI classes can accommodate pregnant women as long as a compulsory one-on-one introductory session is attended beforehand.
The introductory session serves to go through some modifications based on:
- Separation of the linea alba
- Presence of the hormone relaxin
- Risks associated with supine exercises
The benefits for pre and post-natal women include:
- Stronger abdominal muscles to support the body during pregnancy, to aid during childbirth and to recover from childbirth
- Stronger core to avoid back pain
- Increased energy, stamina and relaxation
- Postural awareness to better control pelvic tilt
- Improved venous blood return to prevent varicose veins