Achieving Results With Pilates

I have taught Classical Pilates Method for close to twenty-six years now and worked with hundreds of students and clients. Most of these people had goals in mind when they began practicing the Method but not all of them achieved those goals. Why?

A few things to consider about a Pilates practice:

  1. Pilates is a skill and, like any skill, contains a mindset in addition to practice and persistence. Without it, Pilates class is just another “abs and butt” class only with fancy terminology.

The mindset we need when we practice Pilates includes the principles of concentration, centering, control, precision, flow of movement and breath. These principles underlie each exercise as well as thread them together.

In Classical Method, we also have the concepts of “wrapping,” “powerhouse,” and the “box” within the exercises.

By the way, it is up to the student/client to apply these principles and concepts to their workout – although the instructor can offer gentle reminders. By making the effort to learn the concepts and principles, the Pilates Method gets “in the body” – as Romana used to say.

  1. 2. Classical Pilates is not easy. A sincere practice, however, is well worth it and the only one I believe that delivers the Pilates “Promise” of increased strength, flexibility, and improved posture and movement efficiency.
  1. Results manifest quicker the more times you invest in practice. Learn the Matwork and practice it once or twice a week outside of class. I sometimes do my Mat before or after my yoga practice.

Some hybrids of the Pilates system include combinations of yoga and Pilates. I am strongly against these types of classes. Yoga and Pilates are vastly different and should be kept separate. In fact, I pretty much feel the same way about Pilates being combined with anything

  1. Know why you’re doing what you’re doing. Do you know why we do Single Leg Circle? Rolling Like a Ball? Why we don’t do Teaser earlier in the Mat series?

If you don’t know the “why” of the exercise, how do you know you’re getting what you should be getting?

  1. It’s not the equipment that makes it Pilates. It is the method (theory and application) that makes it Pilates. If you’ve been struggling with Teaser for five years and can “only do it” with the Push Through Bar, then you really haven’t learned Teaser at all.

With a few exceptions, the equipment was designed to help one do the matwork better. The equipment should be used as a teacher, not a crutch. Remember that the next time you take your Pilates class – use the equipment as a teacher. Let it reveal to you where you falter in the movement and intend to work on the weak link in your execution.