We workout for a variety of reasons. For some it’s about getting in shape or staying in shape. For others it is about spending some ‘me’ time and decompressing. We could be overcoming an injury or rehabbing a joint/muscle. We could be interested in the social aspect of it all. All of these are good reasons!
We also have different opinions about our dress. At 12South Pilates, wear whatever you want – dress up in spiffy workout attire if that motivates you or wear your comfy sweats and favorite college t-shirt.
No matter why you choose to do Pilates or what you wear – there is one thing I hope you will bring to your class: An openness to learn, feel, move and grow! Pilates is not a show up and copy the person next to you while thinking about what you should have for dinner workout! Those who get the most out of Pilates are those who are willing to be present and to really experience Pilates. That may sound a little too Zen or deep for some. Let’s be clear – Pilates is not a religion or about spiritual enlightenment. (Good things but not what we are preaching today!)
What does being present in a Pilates class mean? It means – paying attention the cues and how your body feels the work. We will all have different experiences. Speak up! Ask questions and explore where you are feeling the work. When we are not present, we can cheat our way through a workout. Pullings straps appears to be an arm exercise … until you experience it and use your back muscles. Double leg footwork appears to be all about the legs … until you experience it and use your core!
Instead of going through the motions, slow down and experience the work. Some times students believe if they move faster, they will be working harder and getting more repetitions in. This is false! Fast movements allow for momentum to do some of the work and muscle compensation to do the rest often times. One of the reasons I mix up your classes is to surprise your muscles and keep you guessing. Some movements, however, we do often – so you can measure your progress!
I recently read an article about a Pilates instructor who had been certified through a gym in a weekend-type training program. She began teaching Pilates and was able to do all the movements. A friend invited her to attend a more in-depth Pilates training and she accepted believing it would be a breeze for her! In her first class, the instructor gave very detailed cues, slowed down the movements and required her to be present and to feel. She could not do the work this way! Her style of Pilates had relied on compensating for weak muscles with stronger ones and propelling her body with force/momentum instead of control through the exercise. She said she actually cried in that class. And then she signed up for the in-depth Pilates training and learned how to access those weak muscles. Today she is fully-certified and much stronger and more confident in her body!
I love stories like that! So much of what we get out of Pilates is determined by what we are willing to put in. We do not have to come to class with strength or skills … that’s what class brings to you if you are present and ready to receive it!