If you have taken one of my classes, undoubtedly you have heard me say “Pilates is a Practice”. What does that really mean?
I’ll tell you what it means to me! It means there is no finish line. It’s not like a race where you are working to break a record. There are no records. It’s not like lifting weights were you are trying to lift a certain weight. We don’t improve by adding on more weight. Often we improve by lessening the weight.
With Pilates we are always practicing, working, trying, growing and improving. No one has fully mastered Pilates. We are all students. Even instructors and I would argue especially instructors need to remain students. We should all be challenging our bodies in the way that is appropriate for our bodies.
How do we do that? Sometimes we add resistance and sometimes we take it away. Sometimes we focus on a concept such as lateral movement or finding opposition in our bodies. Sometimes we work on a specific muscle groups such as glutes or our core. And we fine tune our movements. We slow down our movements. We really use our breath.
I had a student say to me today “I’ve realized if something is easy in Pilates, I am not doing it correctly.” She is often correct. We can take the most basic exercise and make it challenging when we really focus on form, breathing and muscle recruitment. This is why it is important to understand what muscles should be working for an exercise. Often times we can accomplish the move with other muscles – and it seems easy. But when we do it correctly – well that’s another story.
Take chest expansion for example on the reformer. You could flap your arms back and forth all day. But when you engage your pectoral muscles and isolate and stretch across the chest – it’s a whole new exercise!
So next time you come to a Pilates class – take your time to practice! Enjoy the experience and don’t rush to the finish line …there isn’t one 🙂