Pilates Students' Manual

Keeping Your Pilates Practice Fresh

October 06, 2022 Olivia Bioni Season 5 Episode 9
Pilates Students' Manual
Keeping Your Pilates Practice Fresh
Show Notes Transcript

When I first fell in love with Pilates, I wanted to do it all the time. As I continued my practice over the months and years, my enthusiasm for my practice has not always been consistent. This episode includes some strategies for keeping your Pilates practice fresh and engaging through the ebbs and flows of your movement adventure.

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[00:00:00] Hello and welcome to Pilates Students' Manual, a podcast helping you get the most out of your Pilates classes. I'm Olivia and I'll be your host. Join the conversation and share your thoughts on Instagram at @pilatesstudentsmanual. You can support the podcast by visiting buymeacoffee.com/OliviaPodcasts. Let's learn something new.

[00:00:46] Hello. Hello everybody. Welcome back to the podcast. I am excited to be chatting with you today. I am riding high on the vibes of Pilates on Tour, which I am so lucky to [00:01:00] live in a place where Pilates on tour comes to me. I can just like scoot over to Burr Ridge and hang out in their convention center and it's just a great time. I love conferences and if you listen to this podcast, you know that I'm probably, probably shared on this podcast that I'm super introverted and meeting people is actually not my favorite thing. Being at my house is probably my favorite thing, but there's something so electric and magical about being in person in a place where there's so many people who are all passionate about what you are passionate about, and people who are just so excited and enthusiastic to share all of this really, really cool information and to just hang out with smart, passionate people is awesome.

[00:01:47] So I had a fabulous time at Pilates on Tour and just getting to be a student and soak up all of the information and all of the cool things from the super cool presenters was always a treat. [00:02:00] Today on the podcast though, we're gonna be talking about keeping your Pilates practice fresh and potentially diving into creating a personal movement practice for yourself.

[00:02:14] Now, every aspect of our life has ebbs and flows. Usually when we get started with something, we've got lots of energy, lots of enthusiasm. We do it a lot, and then we kind of get into a maintenance phase. It's not really exciting and new anymore. You kind of get it, but you keep doing it and ideally you keep doing it, but sometimes you kind of fall out of love with it.

[00:02:40] And I definitely have that type of personality where I will be absolutely obsessed about doing something. Cross stitching comes to mind, and I will do it for hours and hours and hours and hours, and then I won't do it for two years, which is not a super sustainable way to do something. But I think our movement practice [00:03:00] and our Pilates practice has that same quality that, you know, the first time you did a mat class or you got on the reformer and it was just so fresh and so interesting and you wanted to learn more, and you wanted to do it all the time, and then you do it all the time.

[00:03:16] And this episode is really about not necessarily maintaining that, you know, infatuation phase. That's exhausting, but really finding a sustainable way to keep doing Pilates even when the novelty of Pilates kind of wears off. Because it does. I mean, you know the exercises, and that's not to say that Pilates ever gets boring, but there have definitely been times in my life where it's like, Ugh, I already know how to do this or I've already done this, and you know, not saying it's my best self. But you know, that happens. 

[00:03:50] So like what can we do to keep doing Pilates because the health benefits are there and the benefits of doing any movement practice [00:04:00] consistently. Whether you're going into a studio, whether you're doing it by yourself, just literally moving, meeting those physical activity guidelines that we talked about a couple weeks ago. So, so, so important. So how can we make Pilates not a drag, but an awesome thing. 

[00:04:14] If you're listening to this and you're like, How could Pilates ever be a drag, then amazing, fantastic. You don't have to worry about this. But if you've ever been like, Ugh, I could just sleep in, um, which I definitely have, let's talk about what we can do to keep that fire and excitement there. One thing that you might be hearing from my voice, just how energized I'm feeling today, is going to something like a conference or a convention or a workshop. And I know that this is something that teachers do a lot because for some certifications you have to do continuing education to maintain your certification as current, Like you have to do continuing ed every few years. 

[00:04:56] So you'll see a lot of teachers at these workshops, but I think [00:05:00] the workshops just for the joy of learning are really awesome. And maybe the workshops that you would sign up to do if you weren't a teacher might be the same ones that I would take as a teacher, but they're no less valuable. So there are workshops that are really deep in anatomy. There are workshops about, you know, different systems. How does our nervous system play into this? How does our circulatory system play into this? How does breathing play into this? There's things for special populations, whether it's injuries or, uh, conditions, osteoporosis or active aging or menopause. So there are workshops like that, but there are also workshops about exercises and Pilate's history. And you can take a class and let that kind of rejuvenate your spirit and kind of re-juice up your batteries so that you have a new lens or a new way of looking at an exercise [00:06:00] or looking at Pilates in general, looking at the history of Pilates, it's really whatever interests you. Um, there's no right or wrong thing to go to a workshop for. I mean, even like really cool chair variations like, awesome. I wanna go play on chairs and do fun stuff, right? 

[00:06:17] So something like that can really be inspiring. And again, just that energy hanging out with all of these super cool Pilates people is amazing. And if you can be brave and introduce yourself to people like even more amazing. So that's awesome. 

[00:06:33] I do recommend if they happen near you, it doesn't even need to be a big conference, but just like a workshop, and even in that same vein, just taking a class with a different teacher. And this is not to say that you shouldn't take classes with the teachers that you love, like, Oh my gosh, yes. Keep taking classes with the teachers that you love. But trying another studio or trying a class at your studio with a different teacher or maybe at a [00:07:00] different time than you normally do can just give you a new perspective on the same exercises. I think that variety in our teachers is really important because there are lots of ways to do every exercise and there are lots of different things that you could focus on.

[00:07:18] So getting a little bit of diversity and perspective in the classes that you're taking can be super duper valuable as well. Even hearing the same cues from a different person just feels different. It hits different. Um, I do, in addition to Pilates, I do a lot of yoga and I do some classes that have a set sequence, and the class is different depending on who is leading that set sequence. Even though the poses are the same, even though you hold them for the same amount of time, even though they come in the same order every time, it just is different and really valuable because every teacher has their own [00:08:00] perspective on the practice of Pilates, of yoga, of whatever. 

[00:08:04] If that doesn't fit in your schedule, or if you're like, No, I can only go to the Pilates studio at the times that I go to the Pilates studio, I can't go take a class with another teacher. The ones I go to are the only ones I can go to. Like, I get it. Life is like that sometimes, um. Even taking classes from someone online. It doesn't have to be a live class. It could be on YouTube, it could be on a teacher you like's membership site, if they have like evergreen content that's saved, that's just them doing cool Pilates stuff, you can really take advantage of all of the great stuff that the internet offers. And you can take classes from a famous Pilates teacher who lives in a different place, who you wouldn't otherwise be able to take a class with them, but you can because of the internet, you know? 

[00:08:52] And so doing it live is one way to keep yourself accountable. But even if you're doing a recording or you're just [00:09:00] following along with a workout on YouTube, there's still something to be said for hearing another teacher's way of looking at the exercise. Trying to do things in a new way with a different focus is really valuable. 

[00:09:16] Coming up after the break, I'm gonna talk about the importance of being your own teacher and maybe some unlikely inspiration, maybe likely, inspiration that might. Keep your plots practice fresh. That's coming up next.

[00:09:39] Hi there. Enjoying the podcast? Me too. Make sure you subscribe wherever you're listening so you get notified about new episodes, and visit buymeacoffee.com/OliviaPodcasts to support the show. There you can make a one time donation or become a member with a donation of as little as $5 a [00:10:00] month. Members get some awesome perks, including a shout out in the next episode.

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[00:10:33] This is something that I think the yoga world got right and one reason I think that I continue to do yoga and probably a reason that I continue to do Pilates because I came to Pilates after yoga, and that's this idea of having a personal practice and being your [00:11:00] own teacher as well. I think teachers are valuable when they are external other people, but I think that we notice more and we have a different experience when we do something for ourselves and not because someone else said to or someone else has an expectation. Like there's something about being with yourself and doing Pilates that feels really different.

[00:11:27] And the thing that yoga did right was this, there's this push for, Oh, you need to have your own mat and you need to have your own stuff so that you can do this on your own and explore it on your own. And that was something that was really appealing to me when I was younger and feeling really strong and feeling really capable. And I wanted to do funky, fresh things that don't always happen in class because not everyone wants to do those things. Like I totally group classes are like that. You're doing it for a group instead of just [00:12:00] for you. So having your own stuff to explore. 

[00:12:05] And maybe you have your own reformer in your house. Amazing. I do highly recommend that, but that is a huge commitment, financially, definitely, and space wise, also, depending on your space. But just being able to try out things, even if it's like reformer exercises without the reformer. If you take mat classes, just seeing like, what do I remember? What do I know? What do I love about Pilates? What are my favorite exercises? And then when you do them by yourself, you can just do those and it's awesome. Another thing that's kind of fun about having a personal practice besides doing all of the good stuff and none of the bad stuff, like I never do the hundred by myself. 

[00:12:43] And that's part of my personal practice, right. Is that you can push yourself or not push yourself in ways that feel good. That's a double edged sword because I'm a big fan of also not pushing myself, contrary to what I just said. You get to set the [00:13:00] pace. Your energy level gets to set the pace. There's no teacher telling you when to breathe in and do things. Like you can really hang out. You can do mermaid for 10 minutes and no one's gonna stop you because it's you . 

[00:13:11] If you're looking for a little bit more guidance, maybe you work one on one with a teacher, or you have a relationship with a teacher, you can ask them to help you make a program for yourself to work on at home. Maybe it's five exercises, maybe it's 10 exercises. Maybe it's a whole hour program. If you're working with a teacher one-on-one, that might be included in sort of your private sessions. You can talk about that. If you have a group class teacher, you might want to chat with them. If you want that to be really in depth, you may want to, you know, buy a session with them so that they can go over it with you.

[00:13:46] Um, but I think, you know, having that program can be really helpful. It gives you a little bit of structure. It's not so scary and open where you could really do anything, which. Now that feels really liberating and [00:14:00] delightful, but I know if I was just getting started, it would feel kind of overwhelming and like, Well, what am I supposed to do though? So having a program from a teacher that you really like who knows your body can be really helpful. And then you just do that and you notice what you notice, and you kind of let yourself play within that box. 

[00:14:19] You can also let Joseph Pilates be your teacher if you want. How cool would that be, right? If Joe was your teacher? He still can be because he's got this awesome book, Return to Life through Contrology, which is, you know, OG what we called Pilates was Contrology, the study of control. 

[00:14:37] And In Return to Life, he says in the preface, um, and this is part of the reason why I think I talk about Joe so casually, is I feel like I know him. I've read his words and they kind of live on, in the work that I do and the exercises that I love. But you can read his words and you can do the exercises the way he tells you [00:15:00] to. And he says in the preface, You don't need a teacher beyond this book. You can just take this book, read the exercises, and do the exercises in the book. So that can also be your guide. And there's some wacky exercises and like original Joe Pilates Contrology, like there are some things that also don't make it into group classes a lot because seal and crab are like weird exercises and they're fun and they're valuable, but like they're silly and not everyone's body likes to do them.

[00:15:35] Right. So you can let that book be your teacher. I really like encourage you to try this for yourself because there is just something about doing it for you and maybe there's an exercise that you're really working on that is something you're struggling with, and you're struggling with, and you're struggling with. Having a personal practice and [00:16:00] having that consistency in your practice is going to help you achieve those goals, whether they are overall wellness. Life goals or whether they are very specific. I wanna do teaser goals, whatever your goal is when you work on it consistently. That's how we achieve our goals.

[00:16:23] There's not really a shortcut. You just keep doing it and having the option to do it at home on your schedule in your pajamas. It's more flexible, I would say, than having to get dressed. Grab your toesox and go to a studio and take a class, which happens, you know, at specific times. When you're doing it at home, you can do it for five minutes and that's your personal practice. Having a personal practice is definitely something that is a game changer for me, and I can't imagine a world where I don't hop on my mat, hop on the reformer and just move. [00:17:00] And just having that freedom to move in ways that feel good, that are exciting. 

[00:17:04] Sometimes I do stuff that's wild and wacky. Sometimes I do stuff that's really just like bridging , just hips up, hips down, a little bit of a massage. You take ownership when it's just for you, and the accountability piece is difficult. So sometimes having friends to do your personal practice with, like I watch a recorded class that, you know, is a, a session of classes and I can't take it live, but I do it with friends and we hold each other accountable and we do it together and we groan together and it's amazing. 

[00:17:41] Um, one of the things that teacher says, he's a teacher I really enjoy, his name's Heath Lander. And he says, the effort is the outcome. Like it doesn't need to be anything. Just the fact that you're doing it, that effort is the outcome, and it gets easier, and [00:18:00] then you try something new and it gets harder again. But that's life, and that's how we get stronger and progress. 

[00:18:05] So one way I would say to keep your Pilates practice fresh is to do it for you. And I am a huge, huge proponent of unrolling. Uh, your mat and just having a seat on it and see what comes up. But also having a program, doing a recorded workout, um, all of those things can be tools and guides for you. But the idea is the more you engage with your practice and you try things and you do things, the more joy you'll find, the better you'll feel and the more a part of your life it becomes. And I think those are all good things. 

[00:18:46] Really big thank you to all my supporters on Buy Me a Coffee and an extra special thank you to the newest supporter, Margaret. So happy to have you as part of the project. So glad you're here. [00:19:00] October just started, but there'll be an October newsletter coming out, and I'm looking forward to catching up with you, having some coffee chats and getting to know more about you, what's happening in your Pilates journey. If that sounds like fun, head over to that Buy Me a Coffee page and let's chat. Let's talk about Pilates. It's like my favorite thing to do ever. I hope you have a great couple weeks and I will talk to you again.

[00:19:32] Thanks for tuning in to this week's episode of Pilates Students' Manual, a podcast helping you get the most out of your Pilates classes. Be sure to check out the podcast Instagram at @pilatesstudentsmanual and subscribe wherever you're listening. Interested in teaching Pilates too? Check out Pilates Teachers' Manual, available everywhere you listen to podcasts.

[00:19:55] I hope to see you next episode. Until next time.[00:20:00]