Pilates is a non-competitive sport
Jamie Morgan quote heard in many, many classes, “Pilates is a non-competitive sport”. All bodies are different. All bodies have strengths and challenges. All bodies come in different shapes,
sizes, proportions. Some move faster than others (I usually encourage those bodies to slow down a little). Some have to move slower to feel some of the extremely subtle and minute changes requested of his/her nit-picky instructor. Some go about almost blindly because he/she can’t feel whatever that weirdo instructor is talking about. All of these body types are accepted and welcomed into the Pilates world, at least they are welcome at Limitless Pilates. Pictured to the right are Limitless Pilates clients performing a near perfect spine stretch forward (duh, guess who taught them the exercise). Despite the differences in range of motion, the shoulder girdle, pelvis, and spine are all connected.
This exercise is NOT about how far one can reach over his/her toes, but
how evenly the movement is spread throughout the spine. That being said some can reach pretty far like this really bendy Pilates Instructor on the left, Sian Marshall Pilates (Pilates teacher at Cobham Pilates) and a less bendy Pilates Instructor whom you might recognize. The movement is spread out evenly, one of these bodies just has more movement that the other.
I’m sure all who of those reading this follow Pilates on social media and already know about March Matness. Just in case you aren’t a Pilates nerd or social media isn’t a part of your life, I’ll tell you a little
about March Matness. Each day of March, Pilates enthusiasts have been celebrating a different mat exercise in the classical order. (Sounds really familiar to mat exercise of the week….) It has been really fun for me to see the different variations of the exercises and to see how different bodies move in/out of the mat exercises. Also eye opening, the many differences amongst Pilates instructors’ bodies and the way those bodies move. One of my favorite parts of attending Pilates conferences is just watching people move. Well really that’s my favorite thing to do wherever I go. Airports and
sporting events (both for the athletes and the spectators) are amazing for watching bodies move. My buddy from Colorado, Robin Long of Park Meadows Pilates and The Balanced Life, demonstrates open leg rocker over there to the left. Besides the ideal lighting and outdoor space, compared to my kitchen wall in the background, you might notice a few differences. Robin has much more flexibility in her hips and legs than I do. She looks lovely and connected. This has always been a challenge for me. I worked pretty hard to get where I'm at and am in a pretty good place. This is the most flexible I've ever been. I can do everything I need/want to do in my life, with support and stability and have practically no pain. All that flexibility requires responsibility to control it all. Now, this gal is in maintenance mode to keep the flexibility already gained. Unless I decide to make a go at Cirque du Soliel, then I'll have to make some changes. I'll keep you posted when that happens.
My spine loves to extend, definitely a direction where I have tons of motion, which is a good thing IF stabilized appropriately (which has also taken some practice and figuring out). There is a long list of orthopedic
issues and arthritis on both sides of my family. I would like to keep all original parts as long as possible and preferably forever, without limiting my activity for the rest of my life. So far, so good. Plan on finishing my third triathlon at the beginning of May without injury, knock on wood. Here are two pretty similar looking demonstrations of swan. The shirtless version comes from Bluebird Pilates in Munich.
To me, Pilates is not about performing the most advanced exercise perfectly. Who cares if you can do a perfect teaser? Unless you are posting pictures on instagram, then you'll get a ton of "likes" for a perfect teaser. While instagram likes are nice, you can't decrease tension with those likes. It's more important to apply the Pilates principles in your everday life to increase movement efficiency and prevent injury. Then you won't have to see me for physical therapy. Manual therapy requires a lot more effort, I'd rather tell you how to move your body.
Check out March Matness on social media, if you're so inclined and definitely check out Robin's stuff. . She provides recipes and video workouts and tips on how to look and feel your best without giving up everything that makes life so enjoyable.