I taught a Pilates Reformer class yesterday and had 2 participants…one was 26 and the other was more than 50 years older! I couldn’t help thinking as I was teaching… How amazing is that??! These two women who are clearly at very different places in their lives came in and got on their reformers and went through a whole body workout focused around the Pilates principles of breath, centering, balance and just plain good movement skills together! And in case you are wondering about the pace of class…..the 26 year old was often looking over at the older client to get a visual of what we were doing next or how to do an exercise as we flowed through a traditional reformer workout! This situation really exemplified to me one of the things I love about Pilates as a movement method…..it is accessible for ANY BODY at ANY Age, SHAPE or SIZE!
There are no prerequisites to starting to learn the Pilates method in your body. You simply have to be willing to learn new things and practice. Whether you are twenty something or in your seventies you can learn to move better in your body and how to stay strong, balanced and healthy simply by showing up and doing the work on a regular basis. When you are starting Pilates there are a few tips that I would give any body:
- Start at the beginning! Even if you are an elite athlete, even if you can hold a plank for 5 minutes or run a marathon…..there is so much value at learning the basic skills we use in Pilates because these are basic movement skills that we use in all types of movements. Give your brain and your body time to learn what you are doing and why and you’ll progress much quicker than trying to just jump into a more “advanced” workout!
- Keep practicing! The value of a movement practice like Pilates is the “practice” portion of it! Take the time to focus your body and mind and do the movements on a regular basis. The movements may be a super challenge or they may seem not very intense or “workout like” to you… do them anyway! The Pilates movements will teach you to strengthen your center by stabilizing your back, help you gain flexibility in your body by sequentially moving through your spine and teach you to coordinate your breath with your movement( great for better focus in your life and stress and anxiety relief!). The absolute only way to feel the benefits in your life is to do the movements on a regular basis!!
- Work at your own level. Don’t worry about what an exercise looks like or that what you are doing does not look like what your neighbor in class is doing! Another benefit of learning a movement practice like Pilates is learning to pay attention to how movements feel in your body and trusting yourself to adjust as needed. Your teacher of course is going to give you movement suggestions and options, but ultimately the goal is for you to be able to know what the goals of the exercise are and then be able to decide and execute how you are going to do the exercise on any given day.
- Let yourself be a beginner for awhile! Don’t feel rushed to get to the next level and try not to fret over not being able to do an exercise perfectly after your 3rd session! There is no prize for being able to hold a picture perfect teaser, other than the prize of feeling great in your body because of all the good movement practice you got while working your way to that teaser! Every time you practice those basic movement skills you will be gaining the strength, flexibility and balance that will allow your body to do what is considered the more intermediate/advanced exercises when it’s ready.
If you are thinking about starting a Pilates practice we have a lot of great options at the studio. I always suggest starting of with a complimentary private session. This session allows you to get introduced to Pilates in a way that is completely individualized to you! It gives your instructor a chance to work with you and see how you learn best so they can guide you to the best way to start you Pilates journey. Most students end up starting with private lessons or one of our Beginner Class series after that initial session so that they can build a strong understanding of the basics in their body.
Contact us today to get started with a complimentary private session!