Pilates Students' Manual

Getting Out Of Your Comfort Zone

August 12, 2021 Olivia Bioni Season 4 Episode 5
Pilates Students' Manual
Getting Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Show Notes Transcript

Today's episode looks at the value of trying new things, taking classes with different teachers, and exploring movement in a variety of modalities. You don't have to be an expert in every type of exercise to to enjoy it! 

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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 going to be discussing the value of getting out of your comfort zone. And we're looking at this in two [00:01:00] different ways. One, the importance of moving your body in lots of different ways and two, the importance of taking classes with lots of different teachers. So that's what we'll be exploring in this episode. 

Before we dive in, I do want to say a gigantic thank you to Trevor and Karna who are new supporters on Buy Me a Coffee. I really appreciate your contributions to this project. And I look forward to meeting and connecting with you via Zoom soon. 

But let's hop right in. Why is it important to move your body in lots of different ways? Especially if you're listening to this podcast, it's very likely that you are enjoying Pilates and Pilates might be the way that you choose to move your body when you have the opportunity to move it. But we know that whether Pilates is your thing, [00:02:00] yoga is your thing, biking is your thing. There's no one movement modality that checks all the boxes, all the time, for everything as far as exercise goes, right? 

Pilates is amazing. And I spend most of the time on the podcast talking about how amazing I think bodies is, but it's  not the best way to get cardio. You know, it's not the best way to do endurance, you know, debatably. It's not the best way to do strength training because the springs we have are finite in their resistance. Right. Depending on what your goals were, Pilates may not be the best thing, and definitely shouldn't be the only thing that you do necessarily. Doesn't mean that it doesn't have value, but you know, it's a piece in the puzzle, right?

So in order to check those boxes, to get your, you know, cardiovascular [00:03:00] endurance, to build your stamina, to get your heart rate up, to, you know, build strength or whatever your goals are. You may look to other classes, classes that you may not normally take. That could be within the Pilates setting, that you might choose to try a class at a different level. Depending on the studio, there may be classes offered in a different style. Things like. I know at Club Pilates  we offer a cardio sculpt class that uses the jump board. So jump board isn't a piece of bodies equipment you would use in every class all the time. So that could be a nice way to add some variety. Um, there's a class that offers, you know, a fusion with the TRX or a barre fusion class, things like that, where it's going to give you another way to move. 

And even beyond checking boxes and having this, you know, perfectly well-rounded movement experience all the time in your life, it's important to be a beginner [00:04:00] sometimes and try things and do things that you're not necessarily great at. Making mistakes is part of the learning process and arguably the most important part of the learning process. 

It's good for your body in terms of checking boxes, but it's good for your brain in terms of not being so set in one way that there's zero adaptability or versatility. Just speaking for myself, I'm a person who's really drawn to more mindful movement adventure. Not saying also that any sort of movement is inherently mindful, but I'm really drawn to things like yoga and Pilates. And that makes up the majority of my movement, but I really enjoy an occasional cardio class and I'm really enjoying learning how to skateboard, which I am objective really not good at, but you don't [00:05:00] have to be good at it to benefit from doing it. Just trying that thing, applying the movement principles that you already know from the exercises that you're really drawn to, to this new thing is like so good for your brain. It's so good for your brain.

 And it's interesting in something like skateboarding, snowboarding is the same, where usually you're doing it with one foot in front of the entire time. I feel like for things like yoga and Pilates, you're doing it on both sides all the time. So to do something that's inherently asymmetrical is really interesting for my brain, for my body. I can apply a lot of what I know from Pilates to my work while skateboarding, I'm obviously a super like mentally involved exercising person. So it's really interesting to have just this different [00:06:00] way to engage with the movement. 

When you do these other movement modalities, or you move in new ways, or you let yourself be a beginner in a movement, a modality, you have the potential of getting better at what you're already passionate about. So, this is something that I tell people who come to my Pilates classes all the time. But when I started doing Pilates, I got better at yoga. I mean, as much as one can get better at yoga, but I was able to do more balance poses and really my balance improved dramatically. My ability to do more of the like abdominal focus, transitions in the Ashtanga classes that I loved. Things like the jump through or jump back the abdominal connection that you need in a lot of inversions and a lot of [00:07:00] arm balances, doing Pilates and connecting to my core in these different ways helped me in the things that I was already doing. 

And that's something that we look for for Pilates in terms of living our life better, that it's not just, oh, well, if you do this, you'll get better at golf will you might, but you'll also kind of get better at life, which is an even better goal. It also gives you a way to break up your routine, break up the monotony of your experience and revisit things and try things that you may not otherwise do in your life. 

I think about: there was a time, there's actually an occasional time all the time where I am trying to do the splits and I'll like really work at it. And I'll work really, really hard for like a couple months and then I'll get bored or I'll feel sore in my body and I'll just be like, eh, it's not worth it. And then I'll go do other things and [00:08:00] maybe not do the splits for six months or eight months or even longer sometimes. And then when I take a new class and the instructor gives the option or I'm doing, you know, standing front splits on the reformer, even though I haven't been working on the splits. Like I haven't been focusing on like split prep and all of my movement adventures doing these other classes. And then coming back to a thing that I've kind of shelved, but now the instructor's like, we're going to do front splits and you're like, all right, well, I guess.  And then I'm always impressed with the ways that I've improved without actively trying to improve. I may not have even thought about it for a while. 

Like all movement is the same movement. Like we can only move our elbow so many ways we can only move our shoulders so many ways. And so when you do a different modality that asks you to do the same things with your shoulder, but with a different focus or with different equipment or in a [00:09:00] different way, some of that's going to transfer. How much transfers kind of depends, but definitely it's the same body. Your body transfers with you from modality to modality. Yeah. 

That's why I think it's important to do different things and to give your self permission to not be perfect at it. Especially for a movement modality like Pilates that has so much precision. There can be a lot of focus on doing it correctly and in this coordination and with this precise control, that can be really beautiful. And it's really awesome. I already like it, but it's also nice to give yourself some slack. And when you're doing something new, like you're not yelling at a baby telling them how bad they are walking, you know, like you're learning something new. And I think that can be valuable too. 

Coming up after the break, I'm going to talk about teachers and [00:10:00] why you should maybe branch out in the classes you take and who you take those classes with, because it's good for your brain as well. That's coming up after the break.

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 month. Members get some awesome perks, including a shout out in the next episode, a monthly newsletter, a monthly zoom call with me and more. You can also visit links.OliviaBioni.com/affiliates and check out some sweet deals on products I use and love. Now, back to the show.

[00:11:00] In the first part of the episode, I talked about the importance of trying new things, and that is definitely, or can be definitely, getting out of your comfort zone. What I'm talking about here is the importance of taking classes with different teachers. Now I'm not recommending that you abandon the teachers that you've love because a lot of times we get drawn into a movement modality or really anything because we really connect with the people who are in there.

So you may have some Pilates teachers who you take all of their classes all the time. And when they cover classes, you take those classes too, because you just really connect with them. And that's fantastic. I, in no way, want to [00:12:00] change that for you. But I do think that taking classes with multiple teachers, not just necessarily in different modalities, although it may be possible that if you were doing a snowboarding class, the person teaching that is probably not also your Pilates teacher, but maybe they are, maybe you live in Aspen and that's cool.

Every teacher, from the teacher you love to the teachers you don't know, have their own style. They have certain things that they emphasize, certain ways that they cue exercises. And that's probably why you love the ones you love because of those things. But if you are only doing this movement modality, and you're only being told to set up for the exercise in this very particular way. And there's like a very particular checklist that the teacher goes through or, you know, a specific thing that they focus on [00:13:00] class can become a little bit of, you know, Simon says in that you're really, you may find yourself being dependent on this teacher. And the only way you know, how to do mermaid is if they tell you these three things to do to set up for mermaid.

Taking class with another teacher, even in the same movement modality- so we're talking about Pilates. If you were to take a Pilates class with a different teacher, they might set you up for a mermaid differently. Or they may, I mean, it's the same exercise, but we know that there's a lot of ways that you can look at it and what you're focusing on. And if you're on the reformer, are we focusing on anchoring the hip. Are we focusing on the shoulder opening or are we focusing on the side bend? Like each of those things are a component in that mermaid exercise, but depending on the teacher, you may look at the exercise differently. 

It's a challenge for you to see what you really [00:14:00] know and what you are relying on the teacher to tell you. I had an experience at a studio that I worked at also offered Zumba classes. And I'm not sure if you're familiar with Zumba, it's a dance class. So it's a cardio class. You're doing really high energy dance adventures. It's a ton of fun, but a lot of the class is very much, you know, follow the leader and you're not really learning the dance necessarily. And this may not be true for everyone, but it's not a dance class and that you're being taught the eight counts and you are practicing them, internalizing them, and then regurgitating them. It's very much you're being taught in real time and you're just following along with the teacher. 

And there was a time that I came into the studio where the teacher for the Zumba class had had an emergency and they weren't going to be able to [00:15:00] make it to class. But the students were already there and they knew what songs were in the class that were in that rotation at the time, but they didn't know the dances. Like it wasn't something that they had learned. It was something that they- almost that your brain isn't as engaged with this in terms of learning it for yourself. Like you were able to do it while they were being led, but then they weren't able to do that if they were on their own. 

I think if you're going to go deeper into your Pilates practice, there has to be some sense of ownership of the exercises and some sense of agency and awareness that it's not just, you know, what that mermaid exercise is, but you know what it is for you, whether that's your hip placement, your shoulder placement, your the internal rotation in one leg. Does your hip even like [00:16:00] to do that or is there a way that you like to get into it or things like that? 

Another thing that we know from motor learning theory is there's two types of feedback that you're getting in every exercise. One is intrinsic feedback, which are things that you can feel happening, you can see happening. It might be, you know, looking at yourself in the mirror to see where your shoulders are. It might be a ball between your knees when you do a bridge to help you find that inner thigh connection and keep your thighs parallel. Those are all things that you can feel for yourself, you can know for yourself. 

The second type of feedback that we get when we're performing a movement, we're learning a movement, which is what motor learning is learning movement. And that's augmented feedback and that's what your teacher is giving you when they're offering you suggestions, when they're giving you [00:17:00] corrections and they're telling you things or showing you things, or if it's a hands-on cue, like giving you additional feedback that you otherwise would not be aware of, that you couldn't do on your own.

So every teacher is going to give that augmented feedback to you differently, whether it's a touch cue, whether it's verbally, and then what they're choosing to cue you on is going to be different for every teacher because teachers offer corrections differently. And so as another way of understanding more and getting deeper into your practice, having different eyes on you, different teachers cuing you is going to be really valuable.

You'll see that getting out of the comfort zone, you know, taking a class with a teacher you haven't had before who's covering your favorite teacher's class or going out of your way to take a different class with a new [00:18:00] teacher is going to give you so much more information and so many ways to learn about yourself just by nature of having a different person in the room with you. Or as we know, just a different person looking at you, whether it's on zoom or through a video call of some sort or happening in person. 

It can be difficult to get out of your comfort zone because it's a comfort zone. It's comfortable in there. But I think if you're really interested in growing, whether in Pilates or learning to do the splits, it's worth trying a new thing with a different teacher and challenging yourself and really rising to the challenge. And maybe you find a new favorite teacher or a new awesome way to move. And that only makes life better. 

Big thanks again to [00:19:00] Karna and Trevor for their support, for all of my supporters and members on Buy Me a coffee, August zoom chats are going to be up shortly. So look forward to that, and I hope you have a great couple of weeks. I'll talk to you again soon.

 Thanks for tuning into this week's episode of Pilate 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.

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