“Pilates is for every body!” That’s a popular phrase right now. But what does that mean? While everyone, regardless of gender, ability, physique, mobility, or experience, can benefit from a traditional Pilates practice, it’s important to remember that we are all unique. So what does that mean for you? Quite a lot.
A little under 3 months ago my life changed for the better. I started Pilates at Studio Flo. I was BEYOND nervous. I am a heavier woman and I had myself convinced that Pilates was only for thin, athletic woman and men. There was no way that someone that is my size would be able to keep up in a class, let alone get any benefit from this type of fitness until I lost a LOT of weight.
I recently got a huge opportunity to travel to the UK to teach Pilates. Scotland boasts some really amazing views and loads of fascinating history. Not that living at the beach is anything but epic, but what a change from everyday life for me in the city of San Diego! Life is definitely different—like taking a short walk to the neighborhood egg shed to leave some change and pick up fresh eggs and grocery stores that are the size of our 7/11 convenient stores. I could ride a bicycle to the studio and not even have to lock it up outside! My 3 weeks in this place were nothing short of magical. It took me back to my rural upbringing and proved to be the perfect combination of keeping busy with teaching and site-seeing and relaxing time out from my busy life.
I’ve been teaching Pilates for a little while. I’ve worked at more studios than I can count on two hands in a city of 1.4 million (and surrounding areas). Pilates has taught me so many things about myself and about helping others. This was my first experience teaching Pilates abroad. I was welcomed with open arms at Bälans Pilates in Scotland and would love to share my experience.
No, seriously where is it?
Have you ever been in class and your instructor cues you to “use your glutes”, “push through your heels” and you have no idea how to engage this infamous backside of yours or how to find this connection?
Do your legs feel heavy when you’re doing the hundred? How about the teaser? Did you know you should be using your butt here? Does your pelvis move more than you would like it to when you’re doing single leg circles and leg circles? Do you have tight hamstrings? Tight hip flexors? Low back pain? Knee pain? Do you have pain in your shoulders? I know, totally opposite end of the body and guess what they are connected to your butt!
If any of this applies to you, you may have a lazy butt. Yup, I said it. A Lazy Butt!
As I write this blog I am holding my 4-day-old son in my arms and dreaming of the Pilates method I love so much. Today I want to talk about my personal situation and how I've managed to bring the Pilates studio into my home. So many of us love the method created by Joseph Pilates. We love it for many different reasons -- the way it makes us feel, the results, our mental physique, the community our studio has built -- whatever the reason, we are hooked. We look forward to class each week and may feel a little giddy on the drive to the studio wondering who else is in class and what the instructor has in store for us that day. I know I feel that way each time to walk in the doors of Studio Flo.
When I first started doing Pilates, I had no idea it would become such a big part of my life. I was a dance major at a small, conservatory-like college. I was also recovering from major knee surgery only about a year and a half earlier and was honestly struggling with my rigorous schedule. I chose an elective class that was early in the morning and would hopefully help me warm up for my long days of dance classes and rehearsals that loomed ahead.
We learned some "exercises." We talked about core control and using your abdominals and psoas in an efficient way, but my teacher never told us about the man behind the method or what the principles were. My Pilates journey has obviously evolved over a period of time from these mat classes for dancers, to lots of different studios and styles, and from many, many teachers, but there are a few things that I can never thank Mr. Pilates enough for giving me...
As a studio owner, I am constantly asked when I am opening more locations, or if I have dreams of franchising my studio. I always give a hard "no" and explain that my dream is not to conquer the Pilates world, but to create a home for people seeking instruction, education, and community. This week, just 3 weeks shy of SFP's 3-year anniversary, I opened my "forever" home. I dreamt of a space that solved all of our woes in the old space (low ceilings, florescent lights, poor ventilation), a space that we could house the bustling studio and education center we have become. Anyone that knows me knows that I tend to worry (a lot), but something changed during the process of opening Flo 2.0. Of course I was stressed, just ask my staff, my parents, my new landlords, my mentors and friends (sorry guys), but I never felt alone. This time I felt empowered because everyone at SFP wanted this, believed in this, helped with this and showed up for me constantly.
People would often ask me, “Well what’s the difference? Should I do Mat Pilates or Reformer Pilates?"
Or clients seem to join camps - one group being, “I’m spending money so that I can use the fancy apparatus. Can you believe the instructor taught us plain mat exercises?” and the other group faithfully coming to Mat class never seeing or understanding the need for apparatus work.
The answer is: You Need Both.
Whether you're new to Pilates, have made it a lifelong practice, or find yourself somewhere in between, "doing it right" seems like the unattainable goal. Well, I'm here to tell you just that. You'll never do Pilates "right." There's always another level. But you can always do it better! From your C-Curl to your Sidekicks, Swan Dive to Rolling Like a Ball, there's always something you can do to get more out of your practice.
I never wanted to own a Pilates studio. I never believed I was capable of wearing that many hats or bearing that much responsibility. I doubted how I could possibly be successful in a city that has Pilates studios around every street corner. Yet here I am, 2+ years into owning Studio Flo Pilates, my growing, vibrant, sacred and, at times, daunting business.