Pilates for me is constantly a challenge. I teach it, but I am also still learning it and I think I always will be. That is one of the reasons I love it so much. If something is too easy, it loses it appeal to me. I’m certainly not uber flexible, ultra strong or a Pilates Pro. I am however consistent, always looking to learn, able to listen more and more to my body and Pilates is an exercise I enjoy. Finding exercise you enjoy is always important, if you don’t like it you will not stick to it.
One thing highlighted to me this week is how Pilates is not all about how strong you are. Yes you need core strength to do a teaser and upper body strength to complete a good front leg pull back… but you also need hamstrings that are released so you can straighten your legs for a teaser and if your pecs are tight you will struggle to get the full range for the front leg pull back. So I’m introducing new release stretches into our classes. A tight muscle can be a weakness.
Think about it, what is different those weeks when you suddenly cannot do certain exercises. The roll up is one of those that often gets affected. Tiredness, tight muscles, overworked muscles, the breathing and lack of concentration all play a role – not just core strength.
So this week when going around your daily activities work out where you feel restricted movement, what areas feel tight. If you sit alot at work this may be your hamstrings, if you are on the floor playing with small children it may be tight pectorals from having a rounded upper body posture. Lifting, leaning, driving, looking at a screen, wearing shoes – unless we do these everyday activities with proper alignment we will get tight muscles somewhere.
My challenge to you – go and release them. Find a roller, a spiky ball, a tennis ball and get into those tight places. Stretch out with a band, a rolled towel or just on the floor. Think about what you are feeling and then see if you notice the difference. If you can, release some of these areas before your Pilates class. Then see what happens.