Pilates for Life
This title is a bit of a double-entendre because it represents our philosophy of the purpose of Pilates and it also represents the short answer to a couple of questions that we often get asked.
What’s it for?
We believe that Pilates is a practice that we undertake in order to be able to do the things that we love (or perhaps have to do) with greater ease. There’s no grading in Pilates, like there is in some martial arts. I would even argue that there’s no such thing as being good at Pilates – as teachers, the measure that we might use is ‘How well do they move?’
Moving well is both subjective, and hard to define but will be composed of awareness, control, strength and flexibility. These are the things that we aim to teach and developing these four elements will undoubtedly help you to feel better and will make physical activity easier and more enjoyable.
How long will it take to get results?
As is often the case, the answer is ‘It depends.’ It will depend upon your starting point, how physically active you’ve been, and how ‘in-tune’ you are with your body.
Pilates is a movement practice much like yoga and some martial arts in that it’s based upon the regular repetition of a set of movements. The results are rarely instantaneous but the regular repetition builds a strong foundation for longer term results, in the same way that running a marathon within a certain time will need a foundation of hundreds of miles in training.
Usually the first few Pilates classes (between 2-10) will result in increased awareness – “I’m much more aware of how I stand”, “I realise that hunching my shoulders is normal for me”, for example. This is a crucial step because that awareness will allow us to start to change our habits, and will make the development of control, strength and flexibility that much easier.
When Anoushka took up Pilates to help with chronic back pain she did 3 classes per week – 30 years ago Pilates was less well-known and harder to find, but 3 times per week was considered the minimum.
We know that, for most of us, 3 classes each week is very challenging. One class plus 15 minutes of homework twice per week will definitely make a difference. If you can manage two classes and 15 minutes of homework each week you should expect to feel significant improvements in a matter of months.
To get the most from Pilates it will be a lifelong practice that will help to maintain your health and make you resistant to injuries whatever else you might be doing for fun and fulfilment. Feel free to ask your teacher about their practice – the chances are that they took up Pilates to help with an injury or chronic problem and then became teachers because they recognised the benefits and wanted to share them.