Saturday, January 14, 2012

Why people think Pilates is so hard

It seems to me that people who make this statement have never worked with a certified instructor one on one.  Most people's first exposure to pilates is in a group class or through a DVD.  They hear all the hype about how pilates changes your body and can get you in that bikini, and my favorite..... all the celebrities are doing it, so it has to be great.  In all honesty, that is what brought me to pilates, an infomercial making all of those promises.  I was a runner and being 5'1" I was starting to look like a fire plug.  I needed something different, and pilates did in fact change my body.  But you must also keep in mind that I was running 5 days a week and doing pilates 5-6 days a week.  I was a little obsessed.

The benefits of working with a certified instructor is learning the fundamentals first.  It is impossible to do this in a group class that has all different levels.  A good DVD will do this, but you really have to stay with the pace of the beginner DVD.  This is usually a very deliberate pace, which is the main reason people probably skip that part and move to the exercises.  I tell my clients that the fundamentals are the building blocks, your base.  If you don't learn them and let your body feel them, the whole thing falls apart.  I heard a quote from a fellow instructor and I don't know where she heard it from, but I thought it was very true. "Pilates is easy when you do it wrong."  Pilates is a method, it is a process.... a path.

I stress with every client that walks in the door that Pilates is a commitment.  You may not walk out of your first session feeling like you did much.  But over time you will feel stronger, you will be standing straighter; overall, you will feel better.  I have a lot of butterflies in my studio, because that is what pilates makes you feel like.  You start out wrapped in your cocoon of bad habits and hunched shoulders and you emerge as a beautiful butterfly!  I tell each of my clients that Pilates changes you from the inside out.  It is a process.  I have been practicing pilates for over eight years and each time I do it I find something new in my body.  I continue to learn........that's what makes you an inspiring remain a student.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Just exactly what is Pilates?

Pilates is a word and a form of exercise that people seem to misunderstand. I have found that most people can not pronounce it nor spell it. I must start by saying that Pilates is NOT yoga. They are two very different forms of exercise, but that could be a separate blog all together. I have made it my goal to enlighten anyone who asks, just exactly what it is. First off Joseph Pilates (pih-lah-teez)was a person, yes I know, crazy! Another fact a lot of people don't know. He was born in Germany in 1880. He developed his program to help him overcome some childhood ailments. He combined the mind body connection and breathing of yoga and the physical requirements of gymnastics and calisthenics. Alycea Ungaro, owner of TriBeCa Bodyworks states the definition of Pilates as follows: a movement system that uses spring-driven machines as well as a series of floor exercises to increase strength, flexibility, stamina, and concentration. ( from her book Pilates body in motion). Joseph originally called his method "contrology." in 1926 he came to America and open a studio in New York City. He was in the same building as the New York City Ballet. So most of his original clients were dancers, so it makes sense that the first teachers were all dancers as well. This is why people think the method is only for dancers. I think that is enough for the first one! Next blog we will tackle the assumption that Pilates is so hard.............