Should try Pilates?
I highly recommend pilates for beginners.There is no age at which it’s best to start Pilates. However, the one complaint I hear most from my clients: I wish I had started Pilates sooner. This isn’t because my clients aren’t able to accomplish much (quite the contrary), but rather because they recognize the benefits of Pilates and realize that they could have been pain-free for years if they’d only given it a try sooner.
But it seems scary…
It can be intimidating to start Pilates. It’s pricey. It’s new. It’s complicated. Some of its apparatuses bear an uncanny resemblance to torture devices. But jumping in and giving it a try is the first step in making an important investment in your health.
Why is this exercise different from all other exercise?
The first thing that many clients notice is that there is a lot of focus on the abs. That is because the center is where it all starts. Mr. Pilates called your center your “powerhouse,” and the more familiar you are with Pilates, the easier it is to see why. Every movement connects to your center, and by using your center in every movement you will feel strong and powerful. When teaching pilates for beginners we focus on abdominal strength first for two major reasons. The first reason is ultimately about protecting the spine. Most people are lacking in abdominal strength, and building strength in the abdominals is one of the first steps in protecting the lumbar spine. Secondly, if you are expected to connect all movements of the arms and legs into your center, you have to start by creating a strong center.
Ok, I’m interested. What should I expect when I get there?
Many of our first-time students register for a trial class. Whether you’re an athlete or it’s the first time you’ve ever exercised, your first Pilates class will likely be the same. At our studio, you’ll start lying on your back doing what is called “pre-Pilates.” These are simple movements of an isolated body part, maybe the pelvis or shoulders, or maybe just breathing. These small exercises help you connect to your body, tap into your body awareness, and start to activate your powerhouse. It also helps us, as instructors, assess: How connected are you to your body? Can I see any imbalances?
Why all the focus on the spine?
Joseph Pilates said, “You’re only as young as your spine is flexible.” It’s true, the spine quite literally holds us up and the more agile and healthy it is, the better we move and feel. One of the main focuses in Pilates is spinal health, therefore many exercises contain flexion, extension, rotation or side bending of the spine. That’s why so many exercises work the spine rather than simply the arms and legs. As a student progresses and is able to use their powerhouse, more arm-focused and leg-focused exercises are added.
There are so many exercises, I don’t think I can keep them all in my head.
New exercises will be added to your repertoire slowly. Pilates for beginners can be complicated and requires coordination. This is done on purpose; Mr. Pilates believed that making you think while exercising makes you gain greater mastery over your body. Don’t be frustrated if you can’t do a complicated exercise on the first try. It can take weeks to master just the breath and coordination of “the hundred,” which is often the first exercise in a Pilates workout.
Pilates for beginners can be frustrating but the potential for dramatic change is what excites me as a teacher. As a beginner, it will take several sessions to feel the full benefits of Pilates. Mr. Pilates famously said, “You will feel better in ten sessions, look better in twenty sessions, and have a completely new body in thirty sessions.” Most people are excited about the prospect of changing their bodies in only thirty sessions, however, I take a slightly different lesson from this quote: don’t expect large changes after just one or two sessions. Resist feeling discouraged if the changes to your body aren’t immediate and drastic. It takes time and dedication to fully master Pilates, but when you do, the results can be life-changing.