By: Kristen Sullivan
A weekend in March of this year, I attended the Oov workshop with inventor Daniel Vladata from Australia. The workshop was held at Synergy Pilates studio located in San Marco. I had heard little bits and pieces about this new Oov and was curious what the hype was about. I had never even been on the Oov before I took this workshop and was honestly a little skeptical. I am always interested in finding new Pilates tools that can help my clients connect deeper to their bodies through movement and this workshop seemed to offer just that.
When I first laid on the Oov Saturday morning of the workshop I was in love. It was like nothing I had ever been on before and immediately I knew that the Oov was different, special and something I couldn’t wait to learn about throughout the 2 day workshop. And learn we did!! It was an intensive 2-day experience of learning the Oov philosophy, assessment of a body on the Oov, and exercises both on the mat and apparatus.
There were several things about the Oov that I found fascinating. The first being its unique shape that Daniel spent a lifetime creating and fine-tuning. He wanted the shape to specifically support and work with the different curves along the spine. There are three different sizes of the Oov, small, medium, and large. The size is not only by height but also by weight. The Oov not only gets bigger in size but the foam also gets stronger with the increase in size. This helps to better support a client’s body while performing exercises on the Oov.
Another element of the Oov work that I found fundamental was the way that the diaphragm is able to work while being on the Oov. You have to breathe and breathe deeply from the diaphragmwhile on the Oov. The first set of assessment exercises consists of an arm and leg series all to work to open and balance out the upper and lower portions of the body ultimately finding a more connected center. And while you are concentrating on not falling off the Oov, taking your time through these somewhat simple but arduous movements, I loved the fact that something else deeper was happening at the same time.
And by the end of the amazing 2-day workshop we were starting to really move on the Oov! Not only can the Oov be used for assessing imbalances and centering the body, but it can also challenge the body in so many ways! The full classical Pilates mat repertoire can be performed on the Oov and it is not easy. It brought to light weaknesses and imbalances that I had that I did not realize. I had been compensating to get through a particular movement but on the Oov that is not possible. The Oov can then be placed on the reformer for footwork, feet in the straps, and any other supine movements creating an interesting challenge of balance and a wonderful awareness and connection to the spine and diaphragm.