Anula Maiberg is our new blogger. This is her first blog on Pilatesglossy. We are very proud to “have” her in our team. Here she shares her views on Pilates;What Is It And Why Bother?
Some of the most frequently asked questions Pilates instructors get to answer include:
- “Pilates is like Yoga with crunches, right?”
- “Pilates is an hour of ab-work, right?”
- “Pilates is [insert person quickly moving straight arms up and down ala the Hundred], right?”
- “Pilates is that thing girls do, right?”
- “I do Yoga, CrossFit, Spinning, Zumba, Barre, HIIT, BootCamp, Pole, 400 situps in front of the TV… etc etc… I don’t need Pilates, right?”
The quick answer is yes. In a way… The long answer is no.
Actually, the answer to most of these questions about Pilates is in its original name, given by founding father Joseph Pilates (truly a man’s man, by the way): he called it Contrology – the art of control. Control over how you carry yourself in life. Control over how to move your body in space. Knowing thy body, the ability to listen, and do what is asked.
It is a method, a workout, and a way of being. What the practice of Contrology, or Pilates, has to offer goes well beyond just a firmer physique. Your looks and the appearance of an elevated caboose is one of those amazing and highly welcomed side effects. But it still is that: a side effect. More akin to martial arts, gymnastics or ballet, Pilates is one of those methods where you have to fully immerse yourself… You simply can’t zone out, and it’s progressive, too – a skill baseline needs to be created and practiced in order to move on to more elaborate moves and skills.
The basics of the Mat work are simple, yet a lot harder to execute than they seem at first.
These basics include mundane tasks such as:
- How do you pick your head up off the floor without straining your neck?
- How do you hold weight in your hands without your wrists screaming?
- How do you pick up, lift and lower your legs without your lower back aching the next day?
- How do you strengthen smaller muscle groups around your joints to prevent injuries?
- How do you keep your spine supple and supported?
These basics build the foundation for everything – in life, but also in your Pilates practice. Think of it this way – you won’t become a Prima Ballerina without mastering 1st Position, or an Olympic swimmer without learning your strokes (and not to sink). Sure, your hard work and accomplishments in Pilates may not earn you a gold medal, but there is a much bigger incentive – good movement patterns become available to you in your everyday life, and you gain improved health, and as Joseph Pilates liked to say “spontaneous zest and pleasure”.
The best way to find out if and how is to jump in and try it. Pilates on the Mat is somewhat of a battle between you and gravity. Without any external resistance and support, the body needs to create its own, whether you notice it or not. The Mat work gives you an opportunity to magnify the impact gravity has on our body and prepare yourself for “the battle”.
Whatever your favorite workout is – we can all benefit from a little self control… and no worries, looking a little better in your favorite outfit will happen, too.
Well done, my friend. Looking forward to more from you and your gifted spirit.
Bonnie Lankford says
Enjoyed your explanation of what is Pilates! I just started a private class and look forward to learning more!