Get Better At Pilates
4 ways to get better at Pilates that have nothing to do with fitness.
1. Self Correct
Have you ever seen your teacher walking toward you and thought “Oh shit what does she want now”? And then before you know it your belly is pulled in more and your shoulders are back and she turns away. Phew. “Ah, you saw me coming for you!” she chirps as she chooses someone else to pick on.
Next time you’re in class try to anticipate what your teacher is coming to correct. Is she always on you to keep your heels together? Squeeze those suckers together from the get go and see if she stays away. Spoiler alert: she won’t; she’ll just find something else!
2. Be Consistent
Commit to a routine and stick to it. Once a week, twice a week or more are all great frequencies and what you choose will depend on what you do otherwise. But if you come once every few weeks and don’t practice at home or elsewhere, you will probably find yourself a little disappointed by the lack of change. Anecdotally, I tend to hear frustrations about lack of progress specifically from students who don’t come regularly.
And give it a bit of time. You’ll notice better body awareness pretty much right away but it will take a little while of consistent practice to see the rest. A ballet dancer’s body didn’t just happen as soon as she started dancing, it took a lot of discipline and consistency. A Pilates body isn’t all that different.
“In 10 sessions you’ll feel the difference, in 20 sessions you’ll see a difference, and in 30 sessions you’ll have a whole new body” - J. Pilates
(This doesn’t mean 30 sessions over a year, rather maybe 30 sessions over about 12 weeks. The consistency is definitely part of the promise here!)
3. Ask For Homework
Do you ever get to an exercise you think to yourself how you don’t like it because you feel like you’re not good at it?
What are you going to do about it? If there’s something plaguing you in class that you want to fix or see improve, ask your teacher what you can do between classes for homework. There are so many quick little exercises and stretches that you can do in one minute every day that will make a legitimate difference.
“What you don’t like, you do twice!” - Romana quoting J. Pilates
It’s the exercises that we feel we’re not good at that we tend to avoid or grimace at. Those exercises are the ones that will give you the most change because your body needs it.
For me personally, after practicing for 15 years, I have found some love for just about every exercise and come to terms with the ones that are hard for me. Do I look forward to them? Nope. But I’ve consistently practiced them and honestly over time they’ve become much more enjoyable. Or at least much less unpleasant.
It will change your experience ENTIRELY. For those of us who tend to hold our breath during hard movements it’s not just a bad habit, it’s spiraling us into more and more tension. Deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps us feel more calm.
Inhale deeply, exhale fully. Every exercise for 50 minutes. Try this in your next class (and tell your teacher you want to try this!): don’t worry too much about form, just focus on the breath. Obviously avoid being out of alignment and don’t overlook anything safety related, but just put your mind completely on breathing for a whole session and I dare you to tell me you don’t feel a little bit better.