After a few years of teaching, I had discovered a common ground between most clients. I would hear the following: “I can’t do this exercise” or “I’ll never be able to do the Roll Over” or “I will never figure out how to do Open Leg Rocker.”
From being a client, I remember those exact same words and feeling the exact same way. I can understand the frustrations and hardships of going through a session and feeling like I wasn’t successful or wondering when I could do a teaser the way my instructor did! As an instructor, my goal is for you to leave feeling successful whether we do an exercise or not!!! Here is my best advice for you:
This is the hardest of them all. Patience is a virtue. I can vouch 100% that patience is difficult to practice. But it’s an important lesson to be had. I find that patience and time go hand in hand in Pilates, you can’t have one without the other. Don’t expect something to happen overnight, in a few weeks or even in a month. Pilates takes time: our bodies have old patterns and habits that we are trying to correct and we can’t expect one session to completely change a body that has lived in many years of incorrect posture and alignment. You’ll start to feel a change before you see a change and it will be small. But that doesn’t mean it’s not working! You just need to be patient for the bigger things to happen!
Don’t stop. Keep moving! (not trying to make new lyrics to Journey’s; don’t stop, believing!”) Sometimes I just let my clients move, letting them discover how their bodies move. I don’t always correct them right away because often they’ll feel overloaded and start overthinking – leading to confusion and challenge. Of course, practice comes into play, the more we can practice the more we can progress. Your practice is persistence.
Stay positive! Don’t ever compare yourself to the instructor or the client next to you. Every body is different, listen to yours. Tell yourself: “I got this!” Remind yourself that your body has changed from day one of starting any type of Pilates class and it may just be the smallest thing but that is something to rave about!
Think back to when you first started an exercise: how did it feel from the very first time you learnt it? How has it progressed now? Maybe in your Roll Over you have more shoulder stability. Maybe in Rolling like a Ball you have less of a clunking sound and smoother articulation as you roll back. Maybe in the Roll Up, your legs don’t lift up. There are many small achievements to be humble about. Don’t go looking for the biggest factor – always remember when you first started and notice how you feel and the look at the smaller factors. It may take you a month to learn an exercise or it may take you 2 years before you master it. At the end of the day, you are learning how to move your body better, how to eliminate bad patterns and old habits, how to feel better in your everyday life and how to love the life you lead! 🙂
A good rule of thumb I love to use is Progress > Perfection. Using the 3 P’s above can help you achieve any Pilates exercise and also translates into everyday life. I like to call them the P’s to success (get it? Instead of keys to success). If you ever feel stuck with your Pilates repertoire or want to achieve a specific goal sometimes the best thing to do is book in a private with an instructor. That way we have one-on-one time with you and we can delve deep into what frustrations you are having and we can work on different ways to help you find success in all your exercises.