I’m new to the world of Pilates. I just found it 4 months ago when I knew that my body needed more than strength workouts to create balance and more uniformity in my strength. Due to overuse of my upper trapezoids (neck and shoulders), I was beginning to experience chronic neck and shoulder pain. I’m prone to headaches and migraines so an aching neck and shoulders wasn’t helping with managing headaches. I became a certified personal trainer 9 months ago and subscribe to a few fitness journals. I kept reading about mind-body work such as Pilates and soon realized that I needed to check it out. I found Claire at The Mindful Bodi Movement Center through a mutual acquaintance and soon fell in love with practicing Pilates. I needed to know more, learn more, and practice it more! Where had it been all my life?
“So, you don’t look like a pilates instructor.”
That was the comment made to me by a new client many years ago. Even though that comment cut directly to every insecurity I had about my body, and made me internally wince at commercialization of the health/wellness industry (a whole other topic), I maintained my composure and responded, “Well, may I ask, what do you think a pilates instructor looks like?” The new client responded, “You know, super thin, long and lean almost like a dancer looks.” Again, I responded, “Well, I’m not a dancer although I danced as a child. I was mostly a soccer player, a mountain/road biker, and a runner. So I would not look like a dancer or have a dancer’s frame.”
The conversation went on productively from there and I was pleased to talk about the differences in shapes and no, you don’t need to have a “dancer’s body type” to have a pilates practice. After all, the pilates method (originally called Contrology) was made by a man for men.
Is pilates easier if you are thin? Hmmmm, that is tricky. Thin doesn’t equal strong, balanced, or if you have any real control over your movements, but it certainly can make movement easier when you aren’t carrying extra weight. Does that mean if you are overweight that you can’t practice pilates? Absolutely not! However, you will experience additional challenges, especially in rolling exercises. Think rollover, boomerang, control balance, crab!
I came to pilates in my late 20’s. I had never heard of pilates before then. I had 2 small children both by c-section delivery. Oh what I would have given to have known about pilates before having children! Pilates was a life changer for me. It allowed me to reconnect with a body I felt lost in after the c-sections. It vanquished the pain from carrying two wonderful children around ALL THE TIME, and it began to give me something beautiful…a deep appreciation for my body. I had my self-esteem back, not because my body was perfect. Oh no, I will always carry the signs of housing two babies for 9 plus months each. Plus, I enjoy the occasional glass of wine (or two) and I have a deep love of popcorn. I will also always have over developed quadriceps from my soccer and mountain biking days. However, I have excellent posture and wonderful ease of movement and grace in my daily activities from my pilates practice. My muscles are strong and defined, but not bulky and I have the flexibility that I had as a child.
I am 38 years young and have a strong and flexible spine and body. I have a strong personal pilates practice and dedicate time daily to my personal work, no many how many classes or sessions I teach in a day, and that is what a pilates instructor looks like. Are you ready to begin your pilates practice?