The People Project with Christina
Interview with Christina Fulcher, Norwich, United Kingdom
Hi Christina, has physical expression always been a part of you life?
Yes, growing up I danced, did gymnastics and acrobatics. I'm six feet tall and I was the same height at 13 years old. I was teased quite a lot at school, so I’ve always been conscious of my body. Later, in my twenties, I studied dance and acting in New York. I didn't set out to be a Pilates teacher. I came to Pilates because of injury when I trained to dance. It offered me the time and the space to work with my body in a way that I couldn’t when I danced. It was magic, and I wanted to share it.
What does Pilates do for you?
you have to relax to feel your body movement
Pilates makes me feel alive. It's is something that my body does well, like dance. Though I’ve been through injuries, you wouldn't know it in the way I'm able to move. In pilates movement, you have to relax to feel your body movement...to be in the flow. It's like acting, where you have to relax to connect with the character.
Is Pilates a mental practice as well?
When someone is not yet “in their body,” they're trying to force it
Pilates connects the brain and the body. It's a mental practice, for sure. It's the ability to feel or be in your body. When I teach Psychologists who are very much in their head, I can see them trying to work things out cognitively: "How long will I need to do this? When will I get to the end point?" When someone is not yet “in their body,” they're trying to force it. They aren't sure how or when to engage their muscles and breathe. It takes practice but when you do get it, it's a high similar to the kind you get after a great performance.
How do you deal with us "not in their body" types?
When you hold balance well, your muscles can functionally do what they’re supposed to do.
There’s a common misconception that if you’re Pilates or a yoga teacher, you don’t have issues with your body. People assume that the ease they see just comes naturally. And that’s not true. I've had points where I’ve been really self conscious. When I danced, I had friends who would practically glide and moved in a way I couldn't. I've had injuries and surgeries on my knees and feet. I used to sky dive, which put a lot of stress on my body. I know we all have hang ups about our bodies, our injuries, our weight or other issues. Sometimes it becomes kind of a safety blanket. But overcoming is a big part of why I'm a good teacher. I spend a lot of time in my classes on weight balance. Balance doesn’t mean you can stand on your toes. When you hold balance well, your muscles can functionally do what they’re supposed to do. If you're self-conscious or trying to shrink yourself, the balance in your body is off.