Memories of Julian Littleford
By: Kerrie Murphy | 19/09/2013
When I was asked to write a summary of my experiences after working with Julian Littleford, I thought “no problem.” But when I put pen to paper I thought, “Where do I start?” There were so many ‘light bulbs’ that were switched on for me during that weekend, it was quite overwhelming.
My private session that I had with Julian was exhilarating. It was an incredible physical and emotional experience. The surge of emotion that followed brought tears to my eyes. Not really knowing what to expect from the private class with Julian, when I walked in, he asked about my injuries etc and we got straight into it.
The class was focused around my imbalances with no detail missed. What felt like 10 cues to one movement sequence made me think – firstly – thank god I was a woman! And secondly, that I have been doing this bodywork for a while now, so I was able to move my focus around my body quickly to follow through with the corrections, with everything coming together. It felt right. Imbalances that have been pointed out to me before – and some of which I had forgotten about – Julian was right on them.
His direct approach to the way he taught always followed with a reason and purpose as to why you are correcting. This way, I remember why I am making the change. One example: Julian mentioned during the weekend about the activity of the obliques in side over sequencing. He said “Your obliques are like yeast: if you shorten them they expand like yeast. I don’t know of anyone that would like a thick waist, only a thin one!” And has that stuck with me and my clientele since I shared this with them! I hardly ever have to correct them now!
Julian spoke a lot of about the importance of addressing the whole body. It is not just about the abdominals, the work you do on your body has to be functional and it has to be linked. He described the alignment of the body in spirals and the spiralling energy from the ground up, that supports and moves the body through space. The correct alignment of the feet affects the activity of the abdominals – just one of many examples that were explored during the workshop. So understanding the reason why every part of the body needs to have purpose in every movement keeps you motivated to see the big picture.
Of course his wonderful experience as a dancer (coming from a dance background myself I have great admiration for professional Graham dancers) has left him with a great language of movement. Watching Julian perform the ‘Roll Up’ was so beautifully organic – the epiphany of the Pilates Method and what it stands for.
After three days, my body changed. It felt easier to stand tall and my quads felt like they were lengthened along my bones with information that I feel will remain in my body. I observe and teach with more purpose and sharing this knowledge with my clients has been rewarding for all of us.
As I finish off these final words wiping tears from my eyes, I want to thank the Alliance for having Julian here. Not only was Julian inspirational but I am so incredibly grateful for his generosity in sharing his experiences and his ‘eye’ for this work. Amazing!