Updated: Oct 13, 2019
The first time you do Pilates you realise you have been standing wrong your entire life.
Learning to stand correctly for the first time is mind-blowing. You will soon realise you have been hunching your shoulders and sticking your bottom out way too much. Great posture not only looks amazing but it also feels just as good! You feel taller, slimmer and more graceful - not forgetting your back will thank you for it.
You will learn how to breathe properly
One of the first things you will learn in Pilates is that you have not been using your lungs to their full capacity. Most of the time we all ‘Belly Breathe’ or ‘Diaphragmatic Breathe’ - take a look, when you inhale your belly will expand. Now try tensing your stomach muscles and attempt to breathe in just as deep without letting your tummy move. Hard right? This is called ‘Lateral Breathing’ - in Pilates this is our 'go to' breathing technique. The aim is to keep you Powerhouse (core) strong while breathing in to the sides and back of your ribs. Though this seems really hard to begin with, it is actually a really important thing to learn. It will help you during exercise (we all know how easy it is to hold our breath without meaning to) and it will also help you with every day things like picking up that really heavy shopping bag.
‘Feel the burn’ becomes ‘feel the shake’
We have all heard the saying 'feel the burn' but in Pilates we 'feel the shake'. When doing positions correctly you will find that your muscles 'shake' a lot. This is actually a good thing as it shows you are working them properly. Soon you will find you look forward to the instructor saying ‘Release into your rest position’. Don’t get me wrong you will still feel a burn as your muscles are working hard but you know you are on to a good thing when the shakes appear.
You will realise how stiff your back and joints really are
We all want to be more flexible right? At first touching your toes with straight legs seems impossible but It won’t be long though until you are showing off your new found flexibility to your friends and you will find every day tasks like picking something up off the floor easier to do.
‘My balance and co-ordination is awful’
Pilates will help you strengthen your muscles which in turn will help you find it easier to balance and it will help you find a ‘mind-body connection’. This connection is essential to everyday life as it helps you to prevent trips or falls. How? By improving your mind-body connection you are also helping your body learn how to co-ordinate better. Soon you will be multi tasking like a pro!
You will cope better with stress and anxiety
Stress and anxiety is mentally exhausting but it takes a toll on your body as well. Pilates has been proven to help with both and learning certain techniques in class means you can put them into practice in your everyday life. We all suffer from stress and anxiety at some point in our lives but Pilates can definitely help you tackle them head on and help improve your mood.
Pilates can help you sleep better
Pilates has been proven to be a great aid to sleep. Just 5 minutes of gentle exercises before bed can make a big difference to how well you sleep at night. So if you are struggling to get your 8 hours a night why not try a few Pilates exercises to calm your mind and relax your body. Get ready to start feeling and sleeping better!