Part two of “What is Pilates anyway”? If you have recently joined my mailing list and haven’t read it you can read it here.
Back in February I attended a Pilates workshop with Anula Maiberg from NYC. The first part consisted of a duo with my beautiful friend Jo Bezzina followed by a workshop where we spoke about what Pilates actually is, and what our job as a teacher of Pilates is.
Here I talk about some of the myths that surround Pilates.
Fact: There are a few myths that go around about Pilates
Myth number one: I have to be more flexible to start Pilates
I have heard this quite a few times. People contact me or I meet someone new they say,
“I would like to start but I’m not flexible enough”.
I believe this might come from having experienced it in a gym environment where there are lots of people and they may have felt unable to achieve the correct movement because they felt stiff and therefore felt awkward. Or, they have seen others doing it at an advanced level and they think they have to be at the same level to start. The Pilates system works because its clever. Mobility is attained by moving the body in many different planes (slowly and thoughtfully) with focus on the achieving balance in both strength and mobility at the same time. This creates harmony throughout the body and yes, more flexibility. Busted.
Myth number two: It’s like yoga
There is no spiritual undertone in Pilates.
There is a breathing technique but its not the same.
There are positions that look similar to Pilates but they have a different focus.
I love yoga but it serves a completely different purpose for me. Busted
Myth number three: It’s just stretching
Not at all. As I said above Pilates is a system that works on balance through the joints and muscles. We work together on creating balance by creating better alignment, strength and mobility of the joints and muscles. If all you did was stretch you would end up with imbalance. Busted
Myth number four: It’s all about the core
This is a big one, and I’m sorry to say its not. Although that’s what the media says and what others claim, it’s not the only, or most important aspect to the Pilates methodology. If all I did when teaching you was to focus on your core it would create an imbalance. The opposite of what Pilates is all about. Your body is one big, beautiful, well structured and clever machine and whether you know it or not, your core is working through every exercise in each session. Pilates brings more awareness into that area for sure and you will feel your “core” more in some exercises more than others. But, just having a strong core is not the only answer to improving your strength, mobility, physical issues and pain. Balance is key and if you get a six pack doing Pilates you’re doing it all wrong. Busted.
Myth number five: It’s just for women
Joseph Pilates was a man. He was a boxer, a gymnast, a martial artist and he did bodybuilding, and yoga all to improve his physical strength after being a sickly child. His work stems from many of these activities. So, Pilates is for men and women and not just because a man designed the work but because there is nothing feminine or masculine about it. It’s movement. It’s a way in which to improve your physical strength, mobility and future movement capabilities. It’s a practice that will keep you going well into your twilight years if you practice regularly whether you’re a man or a woman. I understand that men often feel a little intimidated in a room full of women but don’t let that hold you back from all the amazing benefits that the method has to offer. Busted.
Myth number six: You have to be fit to do Pilates.
Another one I hear a lot. How will you get fit before you start Pilates? What would you do to get yourself in shape to start? What is like Pilates that will get you ready to do Pilates? There is no fitness test or fitness level to measure yourself against that will deem you ready to start. The only time that wouldn’t be the right time to start would be if you had to be on bed rest for an injury or illness. Only the work itself will improve your physical fitness and Pilates practice. So, why wait? I’m here to teach you the work, to help you grow and think about your body in ways that will improve your lifestyle and in some cases enable you to “return to life”. Busted
Myth number seven: It’s easy.
It’s not. That doesn’t mean that there is not a beginner level to start at. There is a set of Pre-pilates exercises that I often use to get people going and to understand the work. Sometimes it will feel hard. Sometimes it may even look impossible to do. Sometimes it looks easy and then when you give it a try you realise there is more to it than meets the eye. I often joke about that if anyone where to spy on us doing the simple looking exercises they would think we were doing nothing. Some of the time its hard because I’m asking you and your body to think and move a new way. Sometimes it’s hard because it is. And where would you be if you just kept doing the same things because it’s easy. I love this quote
“Don’t expect to see a change if you don’t make one”
Myth number eight: You have to lose weight before you start Pilates
Size does not matter to Pilates. Pilates doesn’t care what active wear you don. Size does not mean you should not move. There are ways to modify the work if you are quite overweight. This is another pearl of the Pilates work. It’s adaptable. I can shape your sessions to suit you and your body, no matter what. And, your shape WILL change once you start. Joseph Pilates said
“ In ten sessions you will feel the difference, in twenty you will see the difference, and in thirty you will have a whole new body. Pilates is for “ every body”
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