How does the work you do in your Pilates class apply to your daily life? It has real physical and tangible applications, but it can also impact your life in larger ways. Tune in to learn more!
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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.
Hello, hello everybody. Welcome back to the podcast. Today we're talking about how you can apply your Pilates goodness to your daily life. And I think it's an important perspective [00:01:00] to have, or to take, because we've talked about, you know, weird equipment last week, and we've talked about normal Pilates equipment, which is actually pretty weird from the outside looking in, I would say, and it's like, well, how do I take those exercises and really make my life better?
Because you know, one of the things I've always said about Pilates is that it's not just about getting better at Pilates, which is a side effect of doing more Pilates, but it's really about getting better at life. How does that work exactly?
I'm going to talk about it two different ways. I'm going to talk about it in a very physical, functional sense. And I'm also going to talk about it in more of a broader metaphorical way as well.
In the most functional and grounded way of thinking about it. We move in our lives, right? We get out of bed in the morning. We lean over the sink to brush our teeth. We pick things up from high places. We put them down in low places. We tie our shoes and [00:02:00] get in cars and all this stuff and we just move. And that's how we get around.
Pilates is about movement. And there are pieces of Pilates exercises in all of the regular activities that we do and all of the regular actions that we take. I'm not saying that you need to do a roll up to get out of bed in the morning, although you could, if you wanted to, that's definitely anoption.
It's really more about having the option to move in lots of different ways. I see your Pilates classes as a way to practice moving in like a lab setting or laboratory setting in which you can really break things down into pieces. Like, can I rotate, but only my rib cage. Can I rotate my rib cage and also move my pelvis? Can I also take that into a twist at my foot. Like you can do all of the small pieces of an exercise and really break it down into its most functional movement building blocks. And then [00:03:00] once you understand those building blocks, you can put them together in any way you dream. It's very much like Legos. Like each little exercise piece is a Lego and you can just build whatever adventure you'd like.
I think about movement a lot in terms of the four quadrants of unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, conscious competence and unconscious competence. So that's a lot of unconscious and competence. Right. But the main idea is that everything we've started with was something that we didn't know that we didn't know. And you start with not knowing what you don't know. And then maybe one day you bend over to tire shoe, and you realize that you can't do that. And you're like, Oh man, I didn't know that I couldn't do that.
But now I know that I can't do that. Through practice, maybe through Pilates classes, maybe through other things, there are more things than Pilates, of course, we get to a point of [00:04:00] conscious competence. If you think about it, or you adapt a bit, but consciously you can do the thing that you couldn't do. So consciously you can do it. And then eventually we want to get to this point of unconscious competence, that you don't have to think about it and you can do it. It's like the things that you don't know that, you know, they just come so easily to you.
It's my personal goal for the people that I work with and anyone who comes into my classes when I'm teaching, that ideally you can go through your life and just do things. And you don't have to think about how you do them. You don't have to think, Oh, I should exhale while I straighten my legs when I get up from sitting down. Maybe you start there and you're thinking about how do I do this in the best way. But eventually it gets to a point where this is just a program that's running in the background and you don't have to think about it.
You can think about driving like that. You know, when you first learned how to drive, [00:05:00] I mean, when you started, you didn't know anything, you had to do the written test, at least in the United States. That's what we do. And then when you're practice driving, you are thinking about everything. You're thinking about checking your mirrors, and you're thinking about, you know, checking your odometer and the time and road signs and all of this. And then you get to a point where you really don't have to think about driving. You just drive and you may have even had the feeling that you get home, and then you don't know how you got home because you were like, so checked out of it. I mean, drive safely, of course, but like that idea that it's just something that is a habit and you don't have to think about it. I would love for movement to be like that for you.
And a lot of times when you've done Pilates for awhile, you know, it can be things like training your shoulders. Like if you have a habit of pulling your shoulders up to your ears and that kind of posture, you get to a point where you don't have to tell your shoulders to draw back and down, they just do. That's a kind of fun moment, [00:06:00] or breathing is another one.
Breathing is so important in Pilates. It's so important that I did an entire episode on the Pilates principle of breathing. And you don't have to take this breathing focus like to meditation status where you're just watching your breath. But noticing how you breathe and then having lots of different ways to breathe can be really powerful. Especially if you have any dysfunctional breathing patterns where you're like a breather that only breathes very shallowly into your chest, or really deeply only into the belly, or if you reciprocal breathe, like you're drawing your belly in when you inhale and then pushing your belly out when you exhale any of those kinds of dysfunctions. Pilates really addresses them. And breathing is something you're going to do all the time, whether or not you're doing Pilates and whether or not you're thinking about it.
So just using this laboratory of Pilates to practice, these pieces is going to cross over into your daily life. And then I'd say in the broadest [00:07:00] of terms, you are going and you get stronger. If you do Pilates, if you haven't been doing any exercises with resistance, adding resistance to your exercise is going to build strength. And we might continue to add resistance if building strength is really the goal. You will get more flexible if you move your body in a consistent way, in a bigger range of movement than it's used to, you will gain flexibility over time. You will become more coordinated and balance will improve if you continually challenge your coordination and balance doing something like Pilates. It seems obvious, and maybe it is, and maybe it isn't. Sometimes when we're in the thick of it, we don't always notice it, but all of those things are going to improve with a continued and consistent Pilates practice. That's just how it goes.
Coming up after the break, I'm going to take those broad improvements that you're going to notice in [00:08:00] your life and really extrapolate them to an even bigger picture of the ways that Pilates is applicable to your daily life, or can be applied to your daily life. That's coming up next.
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[00:09:00] Before the break I talked about very broad improvements and changes that you're going to notice in your daily life becoming stronger, more flexible, and more coordinated, having better balance, breathing better, hopefully as well. All of those improvements, especially when you see them in yourself is going to lead to an increased confidence in what you know your body can do, and also trusting your body in what you know it can do because you've done it before and Pilates, right.
I've worked with clients who are older or who are recovering from injuries or have had stuff going on. And there was like a lot of fear around movement and [00:10:00] fear around just like daily obstacles. In terms of like climbing stairs or, you know, getting up from seated, all of these things that you're going to do a lot just in your life, they were just really difficult or nearly impossible for them to do.
And as you're gaining this strength, those things that seemed impossible become possible. And that's whether you were practicing the roll-up and you couldn't do the roll-up and then you could do the roll-up, where it's like a very specific exercise, but also in those like bigger things where, you know, I couldn't walk to the grocery store because it was a mile away. And now, you know, my stamina's improved and I'm able to do that. The more confidence you have, the more trust you have in your body, you know, the stronger sense of autonomy, this freedom of being able to move, it's going to translate into, you know, your posture improving and your self esteem improving.
And we know that those [00:11:00] things are linked, that your posture isn't just about, Oh, well I must have like a weak core. And that's why my posture is bad. I mean, that could be a factor, but our posture is also very like emotionally linked in how you feel is going to translate into your body language. And so when you feel good, you look better like objectively that happens. And you know, that's really one of those benefits of Pilates that's not something you see on the scale. It may not be something you see in anything other than, you know, just how you feel and the fact that you feel good.
A lot of times people will say, Oh my gosh, I'm addicted to Pilates because this is a very positive feedback loop. You do something, and Pilates gives you lots of opportunities to do things, and you get a sense of accomplishment. You get a sense of pride in your ability to do these things. And that comes with you out of the Pilates studio. It's a positive feedback loop. [00:12:00] It's the kind of loop you want to be in. And why, you know, exercise can be so great for your mood as well.
Pilates is also good for your brain as we age, and we're all aging. We get very set in our routines and we drive to work the same way. And we put on our pants the same leg first, every day. And you know, the stuff in our kitchen is organized in a way so that we're always, you know, grabbing the same things. It's really easy to get in routines. And when you have that routine, you can mentally kind of check out. We're not really challenging our brain necessarily.
Pilates gives you lots of opportunities to challenge your brain, which is going to help you stay cognitively alert and aware and agile as well. Because Pilates just a series of really complicated movements and executing them on different pieces of equipment. And with slight variations in how you're doing it just keeps your brain engaged, which is really fabulous. Erica [00:13:00] Quest has some awesome. Workshops on Pilates, anytime where she even goes above and beyond what traditional Pilates includes. And she puts in, you know, brain teasers and, and more balance challenges.
But all of those things, like, I don't know what workshop I was in, but I remember one teacher saying that like after age 30, we stop walking backwards because we don't trust ourselves to not run into something when we can't see where we're going, you know? So just having opportunities to move in different ways to challenge our coordination and challenge our balance ensures that we'll be able to use those things in our daily life.
There's also a social component to Pilates, whether you're practicing your classes, you know, online virtually, or whether you're meeting a teacher one-on-one or if you're in a group class, you're still interacting with people and you're still able to be with people. And that can be really helpful and really powerful as well.
There are so many friendships that I've seen in the studio that these were [00:14:00] just people that took the same, you know, level 1.5 class together, but then they hang out because we know we've got Pilates in common. And, uh, there's so many friendships in so many ways to like really be part of a community at a Pilates studio.
Beyond that Pilates time is your time, regardless of what roles you play in your life outside of the studio, when you're doing Pilates, you're just another person in class doing Pilates and exploring ways to move and breathe and be having that time for yourself, where you're not a mom or your job or your relationships to other people, you're just you, it makes you better at those roles because you've taken that time for yourself to do something awesome for yourself. And you can give more to those roles when your cup is full. Having that routine, those classes that you take, and the time that you spend in the studio can be really rejuvenating. And I [00:15:00] can't overstate the importance of doing those good things for yourself.
Right now, as part of March Matness on Instagram, Benjamin Degenhart has been posting almost like a March matness gratitude challenge, where he's looking at what each of the exercises in the classical mat order has really taught him about Pilates and about life. If that's something you're interested in, checking out, highly recommend you head over to his Instagram, but it just shows you that in both very functional ways and also very big picture ways Pilates can be woven into, Pilates weaves into your daily life. From the ways you move, how you move and how you feel, pilates has an impact on all of those things. Which as someone who does Pilates, you probably already know, but I think it's a nice thing to reflect on the fact that this thing that you really enjoy doing and that's really [00:16:00] a fun thing that you do for yourself is really a great thing for yourself. And maybe even more ways than you thought.
I want to give a really big, thank you to all my supporters on Buy Me A Coffee. I appreciate your contributions and your donations to this project. I hope that you're doing well wherever you are, and staying safe and healthy. It just snowed in Chicago because of course it did. I hope you have a wonderful week. Stay warm if it's also snowing where you are, and I will talk to you again soon.
Thanks for tuning into 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 [00:17:00] out Pilates Teachers' Manual, available everywhere you listen to podcasts.
I hope to see you next episode. Until next time.