Pilates Students' Manual

Why Pilates Works

January 20, 2022 Olivia Bioni Season 5 Episode 1
Pilates Students' Manual
Why Pilates Works
Show Notes Transcript

Today we look at why Pilates works, what makes it so great, things to keep in mind when we think about Pilates, and I share some excellent news about Pilates and exercise! Tune in!

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Show Notes:

Check out Raphael Bender's book Strengthen The Person Not Just The Body Part here.

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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.

[00:00:47] Hello, hello everybody. Welcome back to the podcast. Happy new year. This is the first episode of Pilates Students' Manual in 2022. So that's very [00:01:00] exciting. Today we're going to be exploring something that's been coming up in conversations I've been having with other Pilates teachers and other Pilates students about why Pilates works. We spend a lot of time talking about how amazing, incredible, wonderful, et cetera, that Pilates. So today I'll be sort of parsing out some of the things that my colleagues and I, and my clients, and I really find to be what sets Pilates apart. And we'll sort of look at those themes, and then also I've got some good news for you, and also sharing a little bit about bias because I recognize that when you talk to other Pilates teachers and Pilates students, um, we definitely already like Pilates. So sort of addressing that as well. 

[00:01:50] So why does Pilates work? What is it about the magical world of Pilates that is so delightful? Something that comes up a lot and has come [00:02:00] up a lot in guests on the podcast and then also with clients that I work with is this very deep connection between Pilates and the healing process that a lot of us come to Pilates from an injury. And Pilates is part of our healing journey. That there are things that we couldn't do, we were in pain things weren't working the way we wanted them to, or the way they were supposed to, and through Pilates, through doing Pilates, those injuries healed. That's a really powerful connection to transformation to getting out of pain. 

[00:02:35] Also tied to PT, which in the United States, PT is physical therapy. I know in other places, PT is personal trainer, but definitely Pilates has some physical therapy application. Pilates itself can work a lot as a graded exercise that, you know, you start at a foundational exercise and then you add onto it. You add on to complexity, you add on load, you add on [00:03:00] choreography, all of this, and then you do more challenging things. And that's something that you do in your physical therapy process in your recovery. And that's kind of how Pilates can be taught as well. 

[00:03:13] There's definitely a mental component. I've referred to Pilates as brain exercise as much as body exercise, that it does require quite a bit of focus and concentration. There's so much precision and nuance in the movement that you really can't be thinking about other things. You can't be making a to do list of things that are yet to do in your day because Pilates really demands your attention and your concentration. 

[00:03:43] Pilates also appeals to people at different stages of their life, whether they're coming back from an injury and it sort of a exercise hybrid rehab adventure, whether people are older, they're getting back into exercise. The low [00:04:00] impact aspect of Pilates is very appealing. If they're younger and they want to do something that's pretty close to gymnastics, Pilates does that as well. It's highly adaptable, especially the equipment, because you can change the spring settings, the heights of things, the lengths of things, the challenge of things with the spring settings. But even in the mat exercises, that that idea of graded exercise that you can really do different variations that are challenging in different ways to your body. That's super appealing. 

[00:04:34] It's so personalized. You've got great teachers who are highly trained and really know their stuff, looking out for you and kind of guiding you. And that always makes me feel good when I'm in class. It's fun. I think the equipment especially is so much fun. It's like the closest thing you can get to a playground as an adult.

[00:04:54] And I also think that this whole body movement approach that, you know, you go to a Pilates [00:05:00] class and do a little bit of everything. So no stone is left unturned. And the fact that there isn't a focus, I mean, there's a ton of focus, right? Like there's a ton of mental focus, but there isn't one body part that you're, you know, just doing a bajillion lunges or something, that it's really one piece of a whole movement adventure, a whole body movement adventure. I think that's quite appealing as well. 

[00:05:29] I talked about this with Rachel on Pilates Teachers' Manual last week. I think that there's something also to be said about the fact that if you keep at Pilates for a long time, and longer than a week, longer than a month, maybe even longer than a year, that you really see far reaching benefits.

[00:05:51] That it's one of those things that I know for me personally, it didn't quite make sense when I got started. Like, I knew that I liked it, but I didn't [00:06:00] know what I was doing. And the fact that you're rewarded for your perseverance is quite nice. It's definitely a long-term perseverance, but if you stick with it, the benefits are like right there and that's kind of incredible.

[00:06:18] Coming up after the break, we'll take a look at the bias in all of the statements that I just mentioned. And again, sharing some good news about Pilates. That is coming up next.

[00:06:37] 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 the donation of as little as $5 a month. 

[00:06:58] Members get some awesome [00:07:00] perks, including a shout-out in the next episode, a monthly newsletter, a monthly zoom call with me and more. You can also visitlinks.OliviaBioni.com/affiliates and check out some sweet deals on products I use and love. Now, back to the show.

[00:07:36] So I mentioned this right at the beginning of the episode, and I mentioning it again because I recognize that there is implicit bias in everything. And when you talk to people who do Pilates consistently and teach Pilates and maybe have trained in Pilates and lead trainings about Pilates, like [00:08:00] obviously there's going to be some very strong, positive opinions about Pilates because it's what they love doing. And it's what they love teaching and all of these things. So it's easy when you're inside the bubble to be like, this is amazing because you're inside the bubble. 

[00:08:15] And everyone who did not really resonate with Pilates when they tried it, like went and did other things. So that's just something to keep in mind, that there is a survivor bias in all of these thoughts because the people who stick around and really become students of Pilates and make going to classes a priority, potentially become teachers and all of this stuff. Like they already like Pilates. So that's to be expected. 

[00:08:44] And another piece, especially when you're talking about why Pilates works is this belief that Pilates is going to help, that Pilates is effective. And what we know, and I feel like I knew [00:09:00] before, but then I read it again in Raphael Bender's book Strengthen The Person, Not Just The Body Part, this idea that what we believe about what we're doing greatly impacts how we experience what we're doing. 

[00:09:17] And the way that this applies to Pilates is that if you experience Pilates in the realm of physical therapy and maybe your physical therapist has a reformer and you are using the reformer in the context of recovery, you are going to have this belief- and this isn't a bad thing. This isn't to, you know, shame or boo on you or anything like that- but you're going to believe that Pilates is helpful to your recovery. And your belief that Pilates- or anything. But in this case, Pilates- is beneficial, is going to shape your experience. Like you're going to [00:10:00] be primed to believe that it's helping. And a consistent outcome that we see in the research is that if you believe that it's helping, it's going to help. And that's fabulous. I mean, the power of the mind cannot be understated. 

[00:10:16] So if that's something that is interesting to you, I'll link to Raph's book in the show notes. And he's actually my guest on Pilates Teachers' Manual next week. Um, and we talk about this a little bit more as well. So survivor bias and, you know, being primed to have positive experiences with Pilates is one thing for sure. 

[00:10:42] But that doesn't explain the first time that I did Pilates and I didn't really know what Pilates was actually found out after becoming a teacher that my mom had like some Pilates DVDs and potentially [00:11:00] VHS. Like we're talking about, like, I started learning about Pilates and I don't even think the hat VHS was a thing anymore. And so I think there were like a couple of DVDs, but I actually had an a-ha moment where I was like, oh, that is Pilates. But like, I did not know about it either like, while I was doing it or like seeing in the house or anything. Maybe there's a subconscious connection, but definitely not a conscious one. That that was a thing. 

[00:11:28] So the first time that I did Pilates and I felt so challenged and so out of my comfort zone and so confused, but so intrigued and wanting to learn more about it. So what's that about? Like, I didn't have that preconceived notion going into it. And, you know, a lot of us had that experience, especially on the reformer. I know the reformer is like a huge one, where it's like, you get on the reform on you're like, I'm in love. I'm never leaving. I do this forever now. This is my life. You know, like that kind of really clear experience [00:12:00] of, this is amazing. I need to keep doing this. 

[00:12:03] So this is like, it seems so simple. It's so silly. It's personal preference. Some people really enjoy this mental component of exercise, this pacing of exercise, this tempo, and the way that you move from exercise to exercise, it just clicks. And you just love it. I don't actually know if there's science behind it. It's just, there's things that you enjoy and you enjoy them and then you tend to stick with them as long as that enjoyment is there. 

[00:12:35] So this is the good news about Pilates working is that Pilates works because exercise works and movement works. All exercise offers benefits, and it increases the things that we want more of, like strength, like self efficacy, like ability to sleep comfortably and [00:13:00] not be in pain. It decreases the things that we want less of, like stress and inflammation, all of that stuff that we don't want, like exercise is helping us minimize that. 

[00:13:15] And Pilates might be your love language. Like that might be the only thing that has ever spoken to you in terms of exercise and you just want to stick with it and that's fantastic. And it could just be that that exercise style is the one for you, you know, and other forms of exercise don't cut it. But if you talk to really consistent runners or people who love Zumba or people who swim, or there's people in Chicago who like go swim in the lake every day of the year. And like, if you talk to them, they'll tell you that like, that's their thing.

[00:13:56] And the benefits that we see from Pilates are the [00:14:00] benefits of exercise in general. And that's not to minimize the awesomeness of Pilates, but really to just expand and validate all types of movement that speak to all different types of people. I used to feel really guilty and you might hear this in previous episodes of the podcast that I love yoga, and I do a lot of yoga. I actually do more yoga than Pilates. I teach more Pilates than yoga, but I do a lot of yoga and I felt guilty and kind of ashamed and like I needed to justify why I was doing yoga or that I was like cheating on Pilates and I wasn't like doing Pilates enough to be a teacher or to, or even like doing enough Pilates to just do Pilates, which is very silly.

[00:14:54] Because the bottom line is it's all good. And all of the benefits that I talked about in the first part of this [00:15:00] episode are a hundred percent valid and a hundred percent true. And all of the benefits that you get from exercise, like that's, that's part of what makes Pilates so great is because it's this whole body exercise. That's what we're doing. And I think it's also important because, uh, Pilates- I'm like, I don't know how every person perceives Pilates, especially, I don't know how people outside of doing Pilates perceive Pilates also. It's hard to say- but it's not a hierarchy. Pilates isn't better than anything else. It might be better for you, but it's not an objectively better adventure, you know?

[00:15:43] And Pilates is not an elite club that you can't come hang out in. Like if you're interested in trying Pilates definitely try Pilates. It's cool. And if you enjoy it, hang around. Let's do it. I'll link to Raph's book in the show notes. As I mentioned, it's definitely [00:16:00] geared towards teachers and trainers, but if you're really interested, especially in kind of pain science and rehabilitation and uh, just cool stuff like that, you can definitely check it out. And as I said, he'll be on Pilates Teachers' Manual next week. So you can hear even more cool stuff from him. 

[00:16:18] In other news, the January newsletter just went out and the signups for the zoom chats for this month are available. So if you are a supporter on Buy Me a Coffee, you can definitely sign up for a zoom chat, hang out, talk Pilates with me, you know that I enjoy doing that so, so much. Really appreciate your support. Thank you so much for visiting that Buy Me a Coffee page and contributing. 

[00:16:42] I will be back next month with a brand new episode for Pilates Students' Manual and next week with a cool conversation with Raph on Pilates Teachers' Manual. I hope you have a great couple weeks and I'll talk to you again soon.[00:17:00] 

[00:17:06] 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.

[00:17:30] I hope to see you next episode. Until next time.[00:18:00]