Sometimes we feel the desire and motivation to pick up old or new habits, many of them revolve around our health, and specific fitness and physical goals. That’s great fuel to get started, but to keep up with those goals we need to find lasting motivation. It’s easy to go back and do something that you enjoy doing, so, how can you find that level of engagement in something that often falls under the “need to do” category, like exercising? One possible answer can come from an aspect of Pilates that is usually considered secondary when talking about the benefits of the Pilates practice.
Pilates is a system of exercises that utilizes specialized apparatus (“machines”) with one main goal: to get you moving. A full-body workout in a one-hour session, you use all the muscle groups of your body and move in all directions: flexion, extension, rotation and lateral flexion (side-bending). Focusing on core work, you gain strength, improve stability and flexibility. But these are the direct and more obvious benefits of this work. What’s typically left untold, is how Pilates helps you connect to your body, and remember it’s more than just a vessel to carry you between subway stations, desks, and restaurant tables, and that it actually is enjoyable to move, solely for the purpose of moving.
For someone who grew up fairly mortified of any activity that fell under the category of “sports”, discovering a way to connect to my body through physical activity was life-changing. I did the whole gym routines, but not for the enjoyment of it, rather because it’s what one must do… But it was only when I became a Pilates student that I was able to make that visceral connection to my body. No more endless, boring reps of mindlessly moving my limbs following animated drawings, in Pilates I learned from my teachers how to correctly and mindfully move and control my body, what to do – and avoid doing, feel – and avoid feeling while moving. And that sparked the desire to be more active. I discovered through a fellow teacher aerial arts and surprised myself when I flipped over the trapeze bar for the first time, on the first try. How? Well, it’s pretty much the Pilates pike exercise, with some extra arm strength. Pilates got me ready for every aerial exercise.
I love moving my body now. Over the past few years, I tried different activities and slowly landed on what feels like a good – and satisfying – balance for myself. I’m still not an exercise fanatic – I don’t hit the gym 6 times a week or train for the marathon, and what I learned works best for me is keeping a variety of activities. I love my 30-minute swims, yoga classes, Pilates workouts, and even weightlifting make more sense to me now, and I can say without a doubt that learning Pilates was what made me appreciate and feel capable and motivated to engage in moving, for the sake of moving.
I always recommend my students to do another physical activity together with Pilates. Just like when I flipped over the trapeze bar the first time, that’s how you actually get to see the results of your Pilates work. We’re giving you the tools, but the goal is for you to go out with these and apply them at whatever activity you are doing: sitting at the office, boxing, cycling, doing Crossfit, or just standing on a crowded subway car trying to balance… So if you can’t find in you the motivation or desire to be more active, and stay active – try Pilates. Reach out to us by filling out the form below or give us a call. You’ll discover a new way to be aware of your body, and with that the desire, confidence, and motivation to do more with it.