I am not the best blogger but every now and then I get the urge splash my thoughts across your screen. So please don’t hold your breath for the next blog because a) we all know how I love a good exhale and b) I like to surprise you with sporadic and infrequent entries!
Also thank you for your continued support.
Anyway, I wanted to touch on the business of practice and lifestyle. And the idea of practice makes perfect. In an age of instant information, beauty in a bottle, and 6-minute abs, the thought of practicing something for life seems daunting if not impossible (Here is another good blog about that). As children we are encouraged to practice the new things we learned, be it a new word, how to tie a shoelace, riding a bike, the alphabet, your times tables, but somewhere along the line, (I would assume when you become adult enough to choose whether to have pizza or porridge for breakfast) we learn about instant gratification. From then on, the idea that you need to practice something gets pushed aside. This thought then lead me on a tangent about prioritising one hour of your day/week entirely to your body, and how thats not much to ask and there is no quick fix for bad posture or the effects of sitting all day. But that is a blog for another day (you may inhale now).
The purpose of Pilates is revealed in its practice. The more often you do it the more natural it becomes. In the beginning the movements are difficult to wrap you head around and the slightest tweak can make a fairly familiar exercise, a shaky hot mess of lawless limbs. As the weeks go on, things start to shake less, breathing and alignment becomes easier and the flow kicks in. You feel like you can actually complete the exercise without legitimately wondering how you will peel yourself off the mat or reformer and roll yourself out the door, never mind navigate the stairs.
The great thing about this part of your journey is that it means that your muscle memory is changing and you are starting to recruit these muscles and techniques throughout the day without even realising it!
Unfortunately, is this is when you begin to wonder “Is this too easy? Is it time I move on? Have I gotten all I can from Pilates? Why isn’t it working anymore? ” and we basically start to lose faith in our practice and wonder what we will benefit out of class. Alternatively, we simply think that we "know" it in the same way you can state, "I can read"or "I can ride a bike", or you've reached your goal weight, ab-flatness, fully-functional limb-ness or whatever.
Well, my answer to you my Pilates proselyte, is do not despair, there is still much to learn and in this instance my advice it 2 fold:
Firstly, Pilates is an art. My nearest comparison would be dancing, but many people would say the same about Hand-ball, Fishing or Jousting or whatever sport tickles your fancy. An element of finesse needs to be cultivated and just when you thing you have it right, there is something new to improve on. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving. You leg could be straighter, your core could be tighter, your neck could be longer, everything could just be better. There is always more. Unlike many other exercises that once you master the movement, you increase reps and weight. In Pilates there are endless ways of improving even the simplest movement. And even once that is perfected there are dozens more ways to make it more challenging. Unlike a Stairmaster or Rowing Machine you cannot entirely “master” Pilates, which is what makes it so enticing, so rewarding, but also confronting, as
your bodies potential is far greater than you could ever imagine.
The second half of my wisdom should also be a philosophy.
I hate saying this but Pilates is a lifestyle. It should be carried around with you in the same way you carry your iPhone and with the same sense of satisfaction as when you get a new hair cut.The reason I hate saying it, is that it sounds so pretentious but the reality is true. When I don’t do my Pilates practice for a while I feel off, like Donald Trumps hair, just not right. Sometimes you cannot even put your finger on it. I believe it is not just the mind-body connection that I miss but physiologically I think your posture is left of centre (or maybe right) and once you know the feeling of being pain free, centred, supple, strong, tall, anything less than that feels like... Donald Trumps hair! This is why Pilates is a lifestyle, and I hope that coming to class encourages you to make the right decisions in your day to day life.
I love to see that people have chosen not to Netflix binge all night so that they can make their 6am class. Or leave work just that fraction earlier to ensure they’re not stuck in traffic. Because this means that Pilates is part of your life, and it should be. Here’s why:
Your body goes with you wherever you go, it eats what you eat, it feels what you feel, and most importantly:
your body is with you your
WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE!
That includes all your limbs and joints and bones and muscles and grey matter!
Think about that, no really, think about it….Wow! So when you body feels a little more Jen Aniston than Trump, why wouldn’t you make Pilates a part of living? Why not give your body and mind one hour every now and then to feel wonderful forever? Think of it as an investment in yourself.
In closing: Persevere my fledglings. Be patient. Take the goodness from each class with you through the day and eventually you will become the embodiment of your hard work. And when people ask you why you do Pilates, you can answer in your best Grace Kelly impersonation "why not?"
If you allow yourself to feel fabulous, you are fabulous. Natalia Kills