For those of who have experienced injuries, pilates provides a fantastic platform for healing and "rebooting" the system. It is important to respect the highly efficient neuromuscular pathways and brain maps in understanding this. When an area of the body is injured, the area shuts down -physical inflammation and neural inhibition occur--to allow healing. To keep a person functioning, the nervous system diverts its signaling pathways around the area, like a detour on the highway, until the area being "worked on" is healed and once again ready for action. During this time the motor cortex of the brain develops a new "map" or program for how to achieve a desired movement, according to the structures that are working and directs signals along this detour path. Once the injured area has healed, unless it is reintegrated into the program--and a new motor map is defined-- the body will continue work with the detour pathway. This can lead to continued compensatory patterns after injury. Until the nervous system registers a new, more efficient pathway, it will continue to function on pre-established pathways. Systems always seek to conserve energy. Once a new pathway is introduced, if the organism finds it more efficient, it adopts it and sheds the old. This can be achieved through focused training, (slow and attentive during the learning phase, to fluid and dynamic in later stages) working from isolated local movement, to integrated global movement. The success of training depends on many elements including: the physical structure and integrity of tissues, joints, bones to support movement; a balance of mobility and stability to support dynamic function; neuromuscular programming (timing, coordination, proprioception); and environmental factors such as stress, energy, hydration, and nourishment. If you are learning a new practice or healing from injury, it may be slow going at first, but patient attention and focus allow your brain to optimize neuromuscular maps, coordination and timing, and will have you soaring efficiently again!! It is not always what you do, but how you do it, that matters.