Pilates is one of those form of exercises, when done incorrectly, isn’t going to reap your body the benefits it deserves. Anyone who has done a private pilates class can attest that the instructor will almost certainly be spending quite a bit of time correcting their body from the tip of their head to all five toes. While it can be frustrating, it’s rather amazing to find that while you thought you were standing upright, your body was in fact, in possession of these ‘faults’ :
Toes turned in. Head tilted to one side. Shoulders elevated. Tummy pooching out. Hip bones jutting forward whilst your upper back is overly rounded. Head is jutting forward.
All that to be corrected and you haven’t even begun the exercise! But that’s why you go for the classes. Whilst a group class won’t give you the undivided attention of the instructor, it’s still better than attempting to follow the DVD you bought as part of your New Year’s Resolution to ‘get fit’.
I can’t say that I’m perfect when it comes to executing 100% of the exercises I teach my students. Sometimes, I need that trained eye to correct me. For instance, I found I was pushing my chest too far forward in trying to maintain that ‘neutral posture’. But my biggest flaw when I do my own exercise, is that I tend to take the easy way out – sometimes. These times are when I’m at the end of the day, the girls are in bed, I haven’t had my dinner, and I’m mentally exhausted. I lie on the reformer and execute the exercises mechanically and after 25 minutes I sigh and go “oh well, that should be enough then”. Ah, where’s the hard task master in me when I need her most?
So what do I do about it? Fortunately, being employed by a fantastic studio, where the instructors are routinely trained in new routines, with fresh ideas to keep the clients interested means that I have access to great classes. If I’m free, and if there is space, I jump in and join a class. Such joy of being able to switch my mind off and accept the instructions given to me, and to be surprised at just HOW HARD IT IS to execute those exercises, and to see the sweat dripping in embarrassing droplets as I execute a plank whilst only resting on one foot (as the other one, naturally, is up in the air, because, why wouldn’t it be?!). To feel my core screaming at me, to feel my legs turn to jelly, and to then collapse in a corner. How awesomely invigorating and inspiring. Honest.
Today I had such an experience. The studio’s master trainer, whom I shall name Pilates Guru Extraordinaire (PGE for short peeps), had himself just returned from a training stint in North America. He was keen to try out some new routines. We (the instrutors who had been loafing about enjoying a quiet cuppa), jumped at the chance. Woah Mamma. Let’s just say, that the stuff he had us do, made me feel like had I been pregnant, the baby would have no problem going through my birth canal because my hips felt well and truly “open”. My body and mind were awake!
To my clients reading this – I have one thing to say to you. In the next couple of months I will be trained in this new routine, and all I can say is – make sure you bring a towel, and your core. Because you’re gonna need it! Yee hah!