I got my notification the other day to announce it was my one-year anniversary as a member of Plank Pilates. Like any landmark, I took it as an opportunity to reflect on my experiences over the past twelve months.
My body has changed: there is muscle definition in places I didn’t know existed, I am generally much more toned and my core strength is at its strongest, ever.
I had initially started going to Pilates to help with my pain management. (I had herniated two of my disks.) After a year of consistent class attendance, not only is the pain much less, but I have also learned to hold myself in ways that help prevent not only further injury, but day-to-day ache control! I would say that the year has been a resounding success!!
There were still a couple of questions that kept nagging at me: has all my hard work and determination resulted in a plateau? Is there a benefit to continued attendance at the rate I was going (2-4 times a week!)
Here’s what I found out:
Our bodies are constantly changing. We are forced to do things in different ways, make adjustments and address these changes practically. If you keep in tune with yourself, you can work on these things specifically by adapting your workouts. Most people tend to stay disconnected from their physical selves (unless their body is screaming at them to STOP!!) In Pilates, we have an opportunity to constantly be checking in, making adjustments, healing, and strengthening. All at the same time!
Also, we tend to use our stronger muscles to help us through a workout. As we progress in Pilates, we become not only aware of the other available muscle for each exercise, but connected to our bodies in a completely new way. An example from my practice: I have always had strong legs. When first using the leg springs, I would engage my hip flexors and quads almost exclusively. My next step was to keep my tailbone heavy. After that, I figured out how to engage my abs by using breath. Suddenly what had seemed like an easy exercise became an exciting mental and physical struggle to do the exercise to its full potential.
So. Practice does indeed make perfect. And it’s a very gratifying journey along the way.
(Three classes per week are the recommended amount to keep your body in tune and in check!)