I’m a yoga instructor, strength instructor, running coach, and personal trainer. I enjoy rollerblading, road biking, kayaking, swimming, skiing, ice-skating, and I’ve even tried skateboarding, archery, and rock climbing. I love just about anything athletic and am typically willing to try something new.
So it seems strange to say, but until recently, I’d never tried Pilates!
I’m drawn to mind/body activities, and Pilates is very much mind and body focused, combining breath work with movement. What I particularly value in the mind/body connection is the ability to find focus, center ourselves, and still find an amazing physical health benefit.
Mind/body movements are sometimes viewed as too easy or not activities that burn enough calories. Many people are crunched for time and try to maximize the benefit of the time they do have for exercise. But don’t neglect the importance of mind/body exercises, especially if you’re always on the go and short on time. For me, it works and I’m really glad I’ve made this time for myself.
I’m always looking for something new to try, and since I’d never taken a Pilates class but love mind/body work, I decided to dive in. I wanted to experience different instructors and areas of focus, and so I committed to my Pilates practice for a full month. This is my experience, that I’d like to share with you.
Pilates is unlike anything else you’ve tried. Pilates reformer is very intentional and the attention to detail that the instructors bring to every student is exceptional. I love the smaller classes and the individualized attention, ensuring each student is able to maximize the benefit of each movement. Each class is designed for that particular group, aligning with the goals and unique circumstances each student brings with them.
This past month, I have been trying to overcome an injury of my own (plantar fasciitis). Pilates was able to help me not only stretch this particular area, but strengthen particular weak areas of my body. Most exercises tend to put a focus on larger muscle groups (squats for quadriceps, glutes, and hamstring strength, for example). I love that Pilates focuses on those smaller muscle groups that we sometimes ignore. This is likely what led to my own injury: overuse of large muscle groups and underutilization of smaller muscle groups as well as extreme muscle tightness in certain areas. Pilates was able to help with all of this.
One class in particular really stands out to me. I took a Pilates class with Heather in our Granger location. Heather and I did our Yoga training together years ago, and she has since become an incredible certified Pilates instructor.
I shared with Heather my injury experience. She was very detailed in talking through with me what could be the cause of the injury itself and areas she could work with me on to help reduce pain, strengthen weak muscles contributing to the injury, and stretching areas also causing pain. She took the time to help me with some ways to help heal and prevent this in the future. After one 45-minute class with her, I went from limping into her class to feeling the best I had felt in weeks later that day! I am enormously grateful.
Each instructor, as the first piece of their training, studies anatomy and movement. This training is an in-depth look at the body and this knowledge really shines through each instructor. Every instructor I worked with brought an expertise to the situation that made me feel really comfortable, and confident that I was in the right place.
I took a class with Del and learned the importance of pelvic stability. And Stacey’s class focused on core strength, which left me shaking (in a good way!). And I took Josie’s Pilates Chair class on a Tuesday morning.
Of all the classes I took this past month, chair was by far the most challenging. Josie utilized both the chair and the barre to stretch and strengthen, and the chair for strength building, balance, and stretching. I loved how she was able to use the chair to perform specific exercises or poses that added a whole new challenge, which could only be achieved by use of the Pilates chair. The class was brilliant!
Regardless of age or background, I really encourage everyone to try Pilates. Take a one-month challenge and give it a go. You’ll see (& feel) what Pilates can do for you. Drop me a note and tell me how it went—I’d love to hear from you!