Pilates consists of over 500 exercises done with or without equipment, and whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a novice fitness enthusiast, you’ll want to know if you’re doing these exercises correctly.
Perhaps your first instinct is to look for a model, which could be your instructor or your neighbor, to copy his or her movements. But the thing is, your body is unique and singular in ability, flexibility, and shape, and when you copy someone else’s motions, you might feel frustrated that you’re not doing it exactly as you see it. Don’t be demotivated; Pilates is not about imitating poses -- it’s about discovering the best way to move for your body. Here are five indications that you’re doing just that.
1. You feel a connection between your body and your environment
A Pilates class should make you aware of how your body moves in relation to the forces that it encounters. When you use equipment like mats, balls, and springs, for example, try to be aware of how each of them bears your weight, keep your body moving, or test your center. And when you do floor exercises, try to appreciate the floor as a tool that supports you.
2. You’re not holding your breath
Unlike yoga and barre that ask you to hold a pose, Pilates is never static. It flows. And so should your breath. As you do Pilates exercises, take note that your rib cage should expand laterally as you breathe. This specific breathing technique is called lateral thoracic breathing, and it delivers oxygen to your muscles, activating them to provide you strength throughout your routine.
3. You are aware of your center
Pilates works outwards from the center of the body to the extremities, so most, if not all, exercises are connected to how the core muscles and the spine are moving. You have three main body weights--the head, the rib cage, and the pelvis -- and all of these weights (along with your limbs) should be aligned with the center as you ease in and out of a movement. When your center is strong, you will notice that both the left and the right sides of your body are doing equal amounts of work.
4. You go through the movements slowly
Slow movements are more difficult to do than quick ones, because they require you to pay attention to details. If you rush through your exercises, it’s easier to cheat the position of the muscles, and you won’t be getting the most out of Pilates. You’re doing the exercises right if there’s more fluidity than sharpness in your movements, which is what happens when you take your time doing the routine.
5. You’re doing the exercises that help you move better
You should not stick with exercises that neither challenge your body nor address a physical concern, like hunched shoulders or lower back pain. Pilates started as a form of physical therapy, and at the very least, your Pilates should reflect this. At C2 Body, your instructor will make sure that you are pushing yourself further through modified routines that are stimulating and safe.
The best way to know if you’re doing Pilates right is to keep doing it. This way, you will get a firmer grasp of your body’s rhythm and the exercises that match it. Book one, five, 10, or unlimited Pilates classes with C2 Body today.