Gym workouts, although wonderful, are very different from Pilates workouts. One of Pilates’ main goals is to make your body more connected. While at the gym, you might have a heavy weight to contend with, forcing certain muscles to fire. In a Pilates class, you might work with slightly lighter weight and focus more on alignment so that you can find the right muscles and in fact, more muscles for each exercise. Pilates isn’t just concerned with one muscle or muscle group at a time. By finding proper alignment and “reach,” each exercise is designed to be a full body exercise. Even exercises aimed at mostly one muscle group will involve the whole body, from crown of the head to tip of the toes.
Although Yoga and Pilates both seek to connect the mind and body, Yoga and Pilates are actually quite different from one another. Both seek to quiet one’s mind, but approach it in very different ways. In yoga, one tries to quiet one’s “monkey mind” and find a relaxed, meditative state. In Pilates, you will be actively thinking and counting in order to soundly place your mind in the room and not let it wander. Another difference is that in yoga, one seeks to hold poses for a long time, whereas in Pilates, everything is highly kinetic. Lastly, the most profound difference has to do with the energetic flow of the class. Yoga starts standing and gradually leads you to the floor, ending you in a blissful sleep. Pilates starts lying down and finishes standing, aiming to leave you energized and ready to take on the rest of your day.
Pilates can take a while to understand. In the first several lessons, Pilates may seem easy. The work of Pilates is often subtle but profound. Amazingly, the stronger you are and the better you get, the harder the workout becomes. Pilates is a never ending well, the further you dip in the further you can go. Some people also progress quicker than others. Our aim is not to just “give you a hard workout” so that you’ll keep coming but possibly injure yourself. We are looking to make people understand their body and their workout so that profound changes can actually happen.
Pilates is known for its power to rehabilitate. There are thousands of different Pilates exercises, and your trainer is able to tailor workouts specific to you. In addition, Pilates is designed to work proper body mechanics. Your trainer will work at your level, often starting small and focusing on tiny movements, much like a physical therapist would.
One of the best things about Pilates is that it is designed to lubricate the joints. Joseph Pilates called this phenomenon “the internal shower.” I like to think of it as taking the oil can to all of my squeaky joints. After a class, all of my joints feel great, I feel like I can stand an inch taller and greatest of all, I feel powerful and alert.
Pilates is incredibly alignment based. Finding the proper alignment in every exercise will help you recruit the proper muscles in each exercise and help you beyond your Pilates class. For example, if you begin to understand how to recruit your abs better while in a plank, you will be able to translate that to other tasks like bike riding. Pilates is an amazing foundation for all workouts and improves posture and wellbeing for everyday life.
“Change happens through movement and movement heals.”