Do you ever wonder if your Pilates instructor just comes in and hangs from the Cadillac or maybe hangs over the high barrel to stretch their spine when no one else is around? We do!! It‘s the day before our Pilates Day celebration and I had an hour break before my last client of the day and I have to be honest I really just wanted to take a nap! I got up at 3am this morning to come into the studio for some news coverage for our Pilates Day event and by the afternoon my body was feeling tired and tight!
Instead of sitting at the computer being unproductive and tired, I went to my favorite place- the Cadillac and did all my favorite “feel good” exercises. I hung in Half Hang( for quite awhile..), did some nice stretchy Roll Downs and did a few of my favorite Rolling Back exercises. I went to the High Barrel and did Ballet Stretches. Today’s Ballet Stretches consisted of me rolling down through my spine over my outstretched leg and just hanging out and breathing. Then I hooked my feet on the high barrel and just extended backwards over it. I also flipped onto my front side and just hung over the barrel in flexion. When I got done….I felt better and more energized- ready to tackle the rest of my day!
You might wonder why I’m telling you all this? As a Pilates instructor I find myself teaching movement that seems like it has lots of rules…..Pull your belly in, don’t scrunch your shoulders, inhale here, exhale there. The ideas and concepts that seem like rules are really what help people learn how to move better, more efficiently and help them start thinking about movement and alignment in their life, but many times people take the rules too seriously. People think they have to be lying on a mat doing things perfectly to be practicing Pilates or any type of movement. They think they have to follow the rules and the order… and the rules all the time! I like to think of the “rules” as guidelines for how to move better not as an “all or nothing” rules to movement.
Instead of focusing on all the rules of my Pilates practice I like to focus on all the tools my Pilates practice gives me. One of the biggest gifts of my Pilates practice is probably just being able to pay attention to my body and then being able to use movement to make me feel better(like I did today!). I find that one of my biggest challenges as a Pilates teacher is convincing and reminding clients that they have the ability to change how their body feels through movement any time! The tools they are learning at the studio can be used practically anywhere( at your desk, on your living room floor, in the car…). You don’t always have to move at 110% effort, do the hardest version of an exercise or do an hour workout for movement to be an effective health tool in your life!