I set this website up over a year ago, mainly to provide a central point of information on my mat classes in Leyton and to let people know where else I teach. I'm not sure the world needs another blog but it's a "thing" now and I like writing. Now I'm over the procrastination, I'm excited to get started.
I'll keep this first one short but I thought it would make sense to just clarify what Pilates is and to dispel a few myths. When people ask me what I do, these are the sort of questions that come up:
What is it? Is it like yoga? and Who is it for?
I'll rephrase the first question as: Why Pilates?
Well, "Why not?" is my response to that? I used to have to explain what Pilates was years ago but in the 17 odd years I've been teaching, its popularity has rocketed. There was a need for it when Joe created it and there's still a need - perhaps a greater need - now.
Above is a stock picture from Wix of a chick on a reformer doing an exercise called bird on a wire. It's fun and it looks good in a photo. Most people who do Pilates however, go to a mat class and a sizeable amount of them will be going because they have some sort of injury.When I choose publicity pictures, I'm torn between inspiring people and informing them. I know that pictures like this or of skinny young girls can actually put people off.
The important thing is that you do what's right for your body. Unless you're extremely lucky, not moving much, particularly the older you get (and I mean from 25-30 onward) is bad for you. We're all told how bad sitting is for us. Pilates will keep you moving. You'll move in a balanced, even way. You'll strengthen and stretch muscles that you need to make your every day life easier. You'll breathe better, sleep better, have increased bone density, improved co-ordination, less pain and better body awareness. Even sex is better. So, honestly, why wouldn't you do Pilates?
Is it like yoga? This question isn't as annoying and daft as it seems. In his quest for the perfect body-conditioning method, Joe researched lots of other ways to move. One of the things he, ahem, "borrowed from" is yoga. The more yoga I do, the more I realise Pilates owes it a debt. However there are some important differences. Joe did talk about the spirit (Geist in German). It really means lots of things: our mood, our well-being etc but it doesn't really imply spirituality in the same way yoga does. So there's no omming and no incense. There's more stillness in some yoga styles too and we tend to have much more of a sense of flow. Both are valid and both are excellent forms of comprehensive exercise. Comparisons aren't really that important as long as you move and move well.
Finally, Who's it for? It's for Every Body! I thought I was a genius when I came up with this, until I chatted with a yoga teacher who'd had the same idea then I saw it on the side of a bus advertising a fitness app or something. I mean it though, Unless you really hate all exercise and will not be persuaded otherwise (hello Mum), it's really for everyone. I've taught people with severe disabilities and Pilates' flexibility means we can alter things to give pretty much anyone a worthwhile class. It's a flow activity and will take you away from your job/ stresses/ obligations for an hour or so. It's not difficult (unless you want to be challenged, in which case it is), it shouldn't hurt, it will make you feel better and it needn't be expensive. This is why it's for everyone. Joe called it Contrology. He didn't give it his name; that all happened after his death. He and his wife lived above the shop and made no money from it. It's his gift: it's yours if you want it.