Although Holistic Gymnastics is akin to anti-polymnastics, it is distinguished by the restructuring work that occurs on the whole body rather than only on the posterior muscle chain , as is the case in antigymnastics.
The three premises of holistic gymnastics
- If it is offered favorable conditions, the body has the intrinsic capacity to find its natural axis and a balanced posture.
- It is necessary to exercise regularly to maintain the benefits of good posture.
- The spirit is inseparable from the body: ” Mens sana in corpore sano “.
The five main characteristics
- The holistic gymnastics practitioner does not demonstrate the movements to be performed. He describes them verbally, precisely, but the participants must “recreate” them by themselves. It is therefore above all a matter of sharpening one’s sensitivity, identifying one’s painful areas and, guided by the speaker, discovering one’s own way of performing movements.
- Holistic Gymnastics teaches how to feel the interdependence between different parts of the body. Thus, it can be seen that ankle movement, for example, relaxes the muscles of the neck, while a stretching movement of the jaw helps to release the diaphragm.
- The movements are simple and can be practiced using cushions, balls or sticks. These instruments, which serve to massage and lengthen the muscles, help relieve tension.
- The work on breathing is fundamental. It consists of learning to “let yourself breathe”. By doing the movements, the breath is allowed to come spontaneously, without straining, to arrive at what is called ternary breathing, consisting of an inspiration, an exhalation and a slight pause.
- There are no predetermined exercise routines in Holistic Gymnastics. The worker chooses the movements – performed standing, sitting or lying down – according to the particular needs of the group.
A method of prevention
Holistic Gymnastics is not about performance, but rather about learning to be perfectly present in what you do and to observe all your bodily sensations. Posture work helps prevent vertebral wear and the resulting pain and health problems, including osteoarthritis. It helps to improve the quality of breathing, circulation and the functioning of the whole body. Its relaxing effect helps reduce stress and improve sleep quality.
D re Lili Ehrenfried, founder
Holistic Gymnastics was created by Dr. Lili Ehrenfried, a German physician and physiotherapist. Fleeing Nazism, she moved to France in 1933 where she died in 1994 at the age of 98. Not having the right to practice medicine in France, but anxious to continue her work in health, she introduced and developed a method of “education of the body”, judging the balance of the body essential to the balance of the body. ‘mind. She enriched and transmitted the teaching she had received from Elsa Gindler 1 in Berlin. The latter had developed an approach based on awareness of sensations through movement and breathing that had greatly contributed to the cure of tuberculosis.