It’s no surprise that on the top ten resolution list every single year, you’ll find ‘lose weight/ exercise more.’ After a couple of months full of great times with family, wonderful food, (too much, for many of us!) and not as much exercise as we normally put in, we’re ready to get back to business…..maybe even try something new.
There are a lot of Pilates products available today, and with so much talk and so many famous people looking incredible with their pilates-bodies, it may be worth a try, huh? With all these books and instructional DVDs you might be thinking that’s all you need to do – pick up a couple of DVDs – they aren’t that expensive – a lot less than a gym membership, that’s for sure…and it can’t be THAT hard…..even Brittany Spears does it! Why bother spending money with an instructor when you can just use a book and a tape in the comfort of your own home?
Ha. Not so fast. There are so many benefits to having lessons with a qualified instructor, especially if you’re just beginning. I’m not going to try to cover all of them in this post, but I am going to talk about what I think is one of the most important reasons, and that is this: what feels correct or well aligned to you when you position and move your body is often not. That’s true if you’ve been doing Pilates for years – I can’t even emphasize how important it is if you’re just starting out. You may think you look just like the girl on the TV, but I’m here to tell you that, most likely….not the case.
I’ve been taking Pilates for over 10 years, (and that doesn’t make me an expert, believe me) but what I have seen is that most people are unaware when their bodies are positioned badly because what has become habitual to them also feels correct. So many of us have developed bad postural habits, and the funny thing is that most of us are, to some extent, also aware of this. It’s a common reason people give for wanting to do Pilates in the first place! The problem is that even being aware of it doesn’t help when it comes to positioning your body because the habitual position will always feel more correct. It’s been my experience both in my own workouts and in observing others that many people are surprised when they are placed in a good position because to them it feels crooked.
This is one of the most important things to keep in mind if you are trying to workout by yourself. With no one to observe your body, how will you correct something that doesn’t feel like it needs adjustment?
Years ago my husband and I travelled to Sydney and I found an incredible Pilates studio overlooking the harbor. I managed to sneak in a class, and after no more than five minutes into the session the instructor commented that I was carrying my baby on my left hip all the time. She was absolutely right, I was carrying Ben on my left hip all the time, and doing a million other things with my right arm. My hips were becoming quite crooked and it was starting to affect my freedom of movement. I had felt that something was wrong, and was considering going to a chiropractor because I hadn’t been sure exactly what it was. What might have taken me months or years to figure out, took a 1 hour session with this Pilates instructor, and I was back on track.
I’m continually getting ‘eyed’ and repositioned and gently nudged a little to the left or the right by the girls at Studio Be, to get my body where it needs to be – I depend on it and know I need it – heck, I even see the instructors do it to each other from time to time. When you start out at Studio Be, you begin with five private sessions with a certified instructor so you learn the Pilates fundamentals, and the basic Mat and Equipment exercises. This one-on-one time is valuable training time for you to learn the basics, but also for your instructor to help you develop the proper alignment of your body and the correct habits right from the start.
Even if you can’t continue on with private instruction on a regular basis, fitting one in every now-and-then whenever you can will help improve the quality of your workouts and the results will be far superior. And just being at the studio with a certified instructor, in our full equipment classes or in duos or trios are significant because the quality of instruction at Studio Be is guaranteed. Even if you don’t think your instructor is watching you, she is – trust me – she is! The instructors are comprehensively certified and help you evaluate your fitness level to establish realistic and attainable goals for yourself.