It's a Process

True confessions I’m a Pilates Teacher, and I still can’t do a perfect roll up. I’ve been working on it for years, and I’ve made progress but I’m not where I want to be yet. It’s frustrating at times. I should be able to do this effortlessly at this point shouldn’t I? I have students nail it in three tries!

Why is my body so challenging? Is it the abdominal surgeries, tight hips … I can come up with plenty of excuses. Or is it that we aren’t supposed to master Pilates in a day, week, month, or year?

The reality is if I’d mastered it the first time I tried would I have been so hooked on Pilates? One of the reasons I kept coming back in the beginning was because it was hard, and I could not do it all. I wanted to get better. I wanted to work at it and improve. I am a goal-oriented person, and I made conquering Pilates my goal. I have in some ways… but I’m still working in other ways. The thing is Pilates is not really something you conquer. Do you ever master Pilates … I doubt it. But you do progress, and you do improve, and you do master movements. There is always room for improvement.

Not being able to do everything in Pilates within the first few classes is also what gave me my quest for knowledge and desire to learn more and become a Pilates teacher. Does that mean if Pilates comes easy to you you’ll loose interest – not necessarily. I believe their are different levels of Pilates. In the beginning it is all about having your movement look like the teacher’s. Next it’s an exploration of where you feel the work and what you are using versus what you aren’t using. There is a fine tuning phase, and phase of trying more difficult choreography. Often there is a desire to go back to the basics and experiences that again from a more body aware space. The goals in Pilates are not as simple as getting the basketball in the hoop or running a desired pace.

In a workshop I attended a a few years ago, the instructor shared with us a story about her Yoga practice and a conversation she had with her yoga instructor. She explained she’s been doing yoga for several years now but still does not do some of the movements like the instructor. She questioned the instructor and asked, ‘Why does my ‘specific movement’ not look as good as yours?’  The instructor replied, “Have you done it 100,000 times? Because I have.”  It’s a good point – practice, practice, and practice some more. Don’t compare yourself to someone who has done so much more than you. It takes work. It takes time. It takes a willingness to learn and maybe fail for a while. Learning new movement patterns and unlearning old ones is challenging but maybe that’s also why we love it and keep coming back for more!