Book Club: Human Movement Potential

In this month’s Book Club meeting Holly Wallis is excited to discuss “Human Movement Potential” by Lulu E. Sweigard.

Don’t be shy, please share your thoughts about this book, and your suggestions for future reads.


I was surprised that more than half the book was a detailed Anatomy review from head to toe. It wasn’t until I got into the meat of the Ideokinesis portion of the book that the necessity for this became very clear.

The concepts outlined in this amazing book is proof positive that a strong understanding of Anatomy is necessary to effectively work with bodies for the greatest change. Pilates teachers use imagery often in their cueing, and as Sweigard explains, without a firm knowledge of Anatomy, these images can be counterproductive and even detrimental to proper skeletal alignment in movement.

Sweigard’s highly clinical and formal language makes for a slow and cumbersome read if you are not familiar with the terms and concepts described.

This book offers the first example of scientific evidence to the efficacy of cueing bones rather than muscles in postural realignment while avoiding unnecessary voluntary muscle recruitment patterns. To that end, actually releasing counterproductive muscular compensations. Proof that relaxing tension will align bones more effectively than creating tension to hold them in place, hallellujah!

If I may, I would like to share an article I wrote last year with some suggestions within a similar context… Stack Your Boxes: Strategies for Standing and Walking.

I also particularly liked the description of imagined movement and its effect on whole body alignment. Also, the detailed explanations of functional movements in everyday life are helpful for teachers to answer questions we are often asked by clients (ie how to sit at a desk, how to sleep, how to lift objects).

This book is an excellent resource for the experienced movement professional. For the beginner teacher, or those less familiar with Anatomy, I would suggest some other resources to start.

What did you think about this book? Please share your thoughts and how you use imagined movement in your own practice or with your clients.

Until next time, keep reading!
Yours truly, ✍

Holly Wallis, Certified Movement & Rehabilitation Specialist, PMA®-CPT
Director of US Operations, Body Harmonics Pilates & Movement Institute
Studio Director, ReActive Movement, 6200 LaSalle Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

© Movement Monthly 2018. All rights reserved.


So now it is time to announce the next Book Club read. We’ll be lightening it up this time with the historical resource “The Pilates Method of Physical and Mental conditioning”.

Join Holly on Monday, August 27 to discuss your thoughts and insights into this historical book.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

1 Comment