I remember the first Pilates class I ever had. A 1-2-1 session with a teacher in Clapham. I had a nagging knee injury that was restricting my other activities and a local physio recommended Pilates. I’d heard of Pilates but that was about it. At best I hoped for a quick fix, a bit of rehab to resolve the problem, ease the pain and get me back to my “real”exercise. I’m notoriously impatient so if someone had told me I was embarking on a life long “journey”, another thing to fit in, I would have headed for the nearest exit.
Happily, I totally fell in love with Pilates. It challenged my body in a way that I understood and was pretty good at and over time changed the way I moved, how I held myself and how I looked.
Once I was past my injury I regarded it as a bonafide addition to my weekly exercise plan because it offered very specific work on balance, core strength and flexibility but it was also different to my usual style of exercise in it’s precision, I didn’t sweat but somehow still felt like I was working hard. The differences began to show and I was hooked.
However, as I said above, if I’d known this was the direction I’d take I probably wouldn’t have started. I was after a quick fix, not another “time thief” to fit into my week!!!
I am now 15 years past that first encounter and have taught hundreds of different people to love Pilates. In that time I can honestly say that very few haven’t been able to feel the obvious benefits of the method, but not all have embraced it as fully as me and that is ok too.
I have never claimed to be a Pilates die-hard. Pilates forms a part of my overall love of fitness and movement and I incorporate it’s principles into all physical activity both intentionally, but also after years of practice, habitually.
I use Pilates as an “add-on”. I do practice it yes, but definitely not exclusively. For some, Pilates is all they need movement-wise, it fulfils their desires for conditioning, strength building and postural correction but for others it is a useful technique that can compliment their other great loves. For example most runners could not imagine a day when their body could no longer support their passion. I believe that by incorporating Pilates into their lifestyle they will have a better understanding of how their body functions and what their body needs to remain fit, healthy and most importantly injury free. Pilates becomes their “add on” to keep them injury free.
Joseph Pilates famously quoted “If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old; if it is completely flexible at 60, you are young”
Pilates IS for life, sorry folks, you do actually need to do it to benefit from it. However, I believe if you do practice it and embrace its principles you are also in a much better position to stay injury free into your latter years and whether that means you can stand up from the floor without help, you can still make it round 18 holes of golf or can keep putting your socks on standing up (c’mon be honest how many of you have reverted to sitting…?) Pilates must be worth it??