The most common thing I had mentioned to me upon someone entering the Pilates studio has been – These machines look intense, I don’t think I can use them.
And while many people think of Pilates as yoga on the reformer, it really is a separate exercise system altogether.
Here are 5 things you can expect at your first Pilates class:
1. You will learn how to breathe
Breathing is the cornerstone of any Pilates practice. While it may seem simple, many of us aren’t actually breathing correctly!
In the process of breathing better, we activate our abdominal muscles more, stabilise our trunk and allow for more efficient gas exchange. Learning to coordinate the breath together with our movements often poses a challenge to many of our new students. However, once you have learn to control your breath, you will find that many other activities that you do, such as running, diving, jumping, weightlifting and even relaxing becomes a lot easier to do.
We have previously spoken about breathing and the diaphragm in our earlier post HERE if you are keen to find out more about the mechanism behind breathing.
2. Relearn movement patterns
The body often likes to take the path of least resistance. Overtime, our activities or inactivity, leads to muscle imbalances and fascia tightness. This in turn leads to inappropriate load bearing on our joints and muscles.
In the first session, you will relearn the way you are sitting, standing, squatting and lifting your arms overhead just to name a few.
3. Learn your strengths and weaknesses
As we go through movement patterns, we will be able to identify WHY you are moving as such. Perhaps your hips are very mobile and flexible as a response to a tight spine. Or perhaps your thigh muscles and hip flexors are tight as a result of weak abdominal muscles. Everyone is unique and it is like solving a puzzle together with your instructor!
4. Feel taller, longer and realigned
Pilates is all about spinal health and mobility. We will teach you exercises to help mobilise and stretch the spine leaving you feeling taller, longer and realigned. You will also do dynamic stretches during class. Dynamic stretching ensures that you are stretching your muscles, and not your ligaments and tendons, leaving you feeling longer without the instability that you can sometimes feel after passive stretches.
At the risk of being overly simplistic, dynamic stretching involves stretching your muscles actively, against resistance. We expound more on the dangers of passive stretching in a separate post HERE which you can read if you want to know more.
5. Work muscles that you never knew you had
By breaking down all your old patterns and hunting for your strengths and weaknesses, you will activate muscles that you never knew you had. After just one session you will start to perceive your body differently.
Your perception of the world is determined to a large extent by your physical capabilities and what you are able to do. As you get stronger, and more in tune with your body, your perception of your experiences and the world will change as well.
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