My body is amazing at adapting to the very unnatural way we typically live in our modern culture. Hours of daily sitting, coupled with minimal movement that essentially just carries our brain from place to place!
Our bodies do its absolute best to compensate to the endless abuse we ask it to endure, It adjusts very slowly, bit by bit, day by day to the input we give it. Nothing on earth comes close to the amazing way the body can do this and we know it. So, in the same way many of us will put off an oil change, tire rotation or service, because we know the car will probably “keep on keeping on”. We take it for granted so much so that we almost expect it to be fine with whatever abuse we ask it to deal with without ANY maintenance or assistance.
Take away —> Start giving your body some help and being an active participant in keeping it healthy, strong and capable.
We live in a culture that can get anything, almost immediately with very little effort. Hungry? Uber eats will have food at your door in under 20 minutes. Hurt yourself? An ambulance is one phone call away. Want some material item that will make your life easier? Amazon same day delivery.
Want to feel differently? Take a pill. Living in this hyper fast paced convenience society conditions us to expect the same in all endeavours.
There has been a lot of advancement in the knowledge of exercise physiology and training. There are also definitely intelligent forms of exercise, like Pilates, that have at their core an aim to heal and repair any issues that may exist. However, there are NO short cuts when it comes to changing your physical body. It simply takes time, repetition and consistency!
Take away —> Consciously remind yourself that real healing and transformation takes time and that every hour in class is another step in the right direction, which, is all that matters.
Pushing harder doesn’t equal faster results. The mantra, “no pain, no gain” has been associated with working out ever since Jane Fonda coined the phrase in 1982. The saying has been bastardised to the point where we think we need to push harder and harder to see results. In a Pilates practise, the opposite can occur! When clients try to perform the movement with all their might, the will naturally loose form, recruit the wrong muscles and forget about the principles of Pilates; concentration, control, centre, flow, precision and breathing.
Take away —> You can’t rush the changes by pushing for extra reps or working on a resistance that’s beyond your ability. Focus on the Principles of Pilates, the cues being given and keep showing up.
Comparison is only useful when i’m unsure what’s going on. Looking around the room can be disheartening especially when we instinctively do it to see if others are finding something as hard as we are! It’s usually not even a fair comparison as people will find difficulty in different aspects of the class. When you are looking around wondering why you suck and everyone else seems fine, there will be another point in class when you are humming along and someone else is thinking the same at that point.
If you are unsure of what the instructor is asking you to do, a quick glance left or right can help you keep up or confirm you are roughly performing the exercise correctly. Beyond that, looking around the room will actually reduce the effectiveness of your practise. Why? Pilates is a mind/body practice which means you need your attention turned inwards to grow this connection!
Take away —> Comparison really is the thief of joy. In the beginning, glance form side to side to help you stay in the flow of class but then take your attention inward and focus on you.
Starting anything new is hard in the beginning; hard to do, hard to make time for, hard to stay committed to. I’ve found through other challenges i’ve tackled that it took an extra amount of focus to prioritise that new thing at first. After 90 days it becomes apart of my routine and comes much easier. If you are not accustomed to making big changes stick then this is a crucial element to learn before its too late. To help you with this, write a list of core reasons WHY this is important to you, and stick it on your fridge or on the dashboard of your car so you read it every day.
Take away —> Consistency is Key! Prioritise scheduling and attending your classes, nothing more, nothing less. Let that be the only goal in the first 3 months.
At first I felt subconscious in class so I came and went without saying too much to anyone. Sadly, it wasn’t until I felt comfortable that i asked for some advice and help. I had been missing a big “Ah-ha” moment to understand an exercise for months and wasted all those sessions struggling when all it took was asking one day before class! Also, I had been feeling a little pull in my neck and was putting up with it. At the same time I asked about that and was given advice to reduce the sensation which worked.
Take away —> If you are struggling to “get” a movement or are experiencing discomfort… Don’t wait, ask for help.
When you think you are relaxing in a stretch, you’re not, you could relax and let go so much more, like 50% or more. The depth of understanding in this area has grown year by year and continues to do so a decade on. In the beginning I was trying to push my way to new levels of flexibility and stretch which just doesn’t produce real change. Learning to stay in a slightly less intense position of stretch, to breathe into the position and focus on letting go of all tension, before even thinking of going deeper, was such a long journey of understanding for me.
Take away —> Prioritise connecting with your body and learning how to fully relax and breath while experiencing a stretch sensation is going to held faster and better results than trying to obtain them with effort and intensity.
I saw Pilates as just a means to an end at first. A simple transaction where I was to give some of my time and money to get what I wanted. Less pain, more strength and flexibility. As those immediate wants were achieved I began to enjoy the “me time” and celebrated how amazing my body is and what it is capable of. At that point I realised the rate at which I grew and transformed was basically the same. I wish I could go back and find joy and gratitude for the amazing body I had even with whatever shortcomings I felt it had at that point. It would of made the journey so much more enjoyable from the start