Do’s and don’ts when you’re doing Pilates
If you’re new to Pilates or you want a refresher on the do’s and don’ts when you’re doing Pilates, you’ve come to the right place. That’s what this video is all about. Hello, I’m Lesley Logan, I’ve been teaching for over 15 years. I have taught hundreds of Pilates instructors around the world and 1000s of students. And I’m here to share with you the do’s and don’ts about how to have proper form and great transitions while you’re doing Pilates. As a second-generation Pilates instructor, which just means my teacher was taught by Joseph Pilates, I have witnessed tons of people being able to learn this method as a way of their own practice. And that’s a goal I have for everybody who watches our videos here or takes from OPC. It’s important that this practice becomes your own. And when you know the do’s and don’ts, you’re going to be able to take a class and have the independence and autonomy to make sure that you’re doing the right exercises for your body.
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Do focus on your form and your posture
All right, do focus on your form and your posture. Don’t just focus on the choreography. Let me explain what that means. So when you are doing Pilates, it’s very easy and tempting to just focus on the choreography, what’s going where. And when you’re new, you actually do have to learn the exercise. So that’s fine. However, if you’re just going through the motions, it’s going to feel really easy. And the big joke about Pilates, is if it feels easy, you’re probably doing it wrong, even if you are doing the choreography correctly. So you want to be focusing on the connections you’re making, where you’re putting the bones in place and working from that proper posture and form. And if you’re not sure, you want to ask the teacher you’re working with, if you’re an OPC member, you can actually show us your form. And we’ll give you some feedback on it. But you want to focus on that posture in that form. Because that’s when you’re working from the correct places, which is your center and not the fingers and the toes and the lock knees and the lower back.
Some things that go wrong in your posture and your form
So let’s actually talk about what are some things that go wrong in your posture and your form when you’re doing Pilates. I see a lot of times is kind of throwing ourselves into a movement or hanging out in our lower back, I’ll show what those are as an example. And also kind of moving through the movements too quickly from your locked, elbows or locked joints. So let’s talk about that. Throwing yourself in and out of it exercise can look a lot like … and like down. And I know this sounds really dramatic. But I see this in classes all the time. And yes, that is sort of the crisscross. I asked you to bring your elbow opposite elbow to your knee, but you want to be doing it from the center. So we’re not dropping out and coming up and throwing ourselves into it. We’re just staying in the movement. And if you need a break, you can take the break by lowering yourself down with control as opposed to falling down, the arch of the lower back. Here’s the deal, you do have a natural curve. I do want you to keep that in your life. But if when you’re doing your exercises, you lower the legs, the back arches, you lift the legs when it comes up, you’re actually moving your legs from your back not from your center. So you want to feel like you’ve the longest spine and every exercise. And that was ever happening in your legs or in your arms isn’t disrupting your center. Because if it is, that’s a sign that we’re going for the choreography like what’s moving where versus moving from correct posture and form. Your arms and your legs should move from your center first. And so one of the telltale signs you’re not focusing on posture and form is if your pelvis is tipping forward and back in the exercises, where your shoulders are coming up and down in your ears, or you drop down and you hurl yourself back up. Yes, it’s challenging. But if you need a break, take the break. Another way to focus on your posture and your form is actually in the transition of an exercise. And that is where we can actually get even more out of the exercise we’re doing or we can get a lot less.
Some amazing transitions to do between exercise
So let’s talk about some of those transitions. In the mat, for example, there are some amazing transitions to do between exercise what actually makes the mat more possible. One of those is between rolling like a ball and your abdominals series, single leg pull, single leg stretch, you can actually transition from the rolling like a ball shape. And you can come into the exercise. And I actually pulled myself into the shape. So I can do the exercise. I can actually transition to the next exercise, one into the next without stopping that would be more advanced but also by bringing the connections that I just made into an exercise and that I can come all the way up and round forward into my spine switch forward. So knowing that transitions really will help take your practice to the next level. It also is going to keep you connected to your muscles so you’re less likely to get into that choreography piece or into a place where you could actually injure yourself.
Leave your comments below
If you’re wanting a whole video on transitions. Let me know in the comments below because I’ll make one for you. If you’re still unsure if you’ve got your form down correctly, you can actually ask for my help. In fact, at OPC, all of our members get access to feedback on their form, either by submitting a video of them doing an exercise or coming to the live class we host every single month, we work out together, and we hang out for a q&a where I can actually see them move, provide feedback and help them connect to their next level.
Don’t forget to breathe
Don’t forget to breathe. Oh my goodness. This is something I see people do in Pilates often, even people who consider themselves advanced practitioners, they hold their breath. While there are some exercises where there is some directions around when to breathe and when to hold the breath. Most Pilates exercises you’re supposed to breathe the whole time and, and out through your nose. In fact, if you’re wondering the best way to breathe and still keep connections to your abdominals, you’ll want to check out my video on how to breathe in when you’re doing Pilates. It’s actually really informative, super helpful, because how we breathe in Pilates is very different than how we breathe in life. And can keep you if you’re breathing the same way you do in life can keep you from the connections and really be able to take one exercise into the next one without kind of holding your breath or feeling like you need to hold your breath because you’re losing access to your abdominals. So check that video out. And then make sure you’re breathing when you’re doing Pilates.
Do challenge yourself
Do challenge yourself. Alright? This is really important. I know sometimes we get a little nervous, like maybe I’m not doing it right. Maybe I get to perfect it better before I go to the next level. But the truth is, is that gate taking yourself outside of your comfort zone to challenge yourself with an exercise can really reveal where you’re really rockin’ in your practice. So you can challenge yourself by transitioning from one exercise into the next without stopping. You can also challenge yourself by asking your teacher. Like what are some ways I can scale this exercise up. You can also use some prompts to find deeper connections like a magic circle or a thera-band or some lightweights. So it’s really, really fun to take some time on those days, you’re feeling up for it to challenge yourself.
Don’t forget to listen to your body
Don’t forget to listen to your body, though. So here’s the deal, I hear too often that I gotta find a burn, I gotta get the sweat on. Here is the deal. Some days, you’re gonna be up for that challenge. On some days, you’re gonna be like, Ooh, I feel a little tight here, I feel a little loose here. What I love about people who are actually using Pilates as a practice as they listen to their body. And at OPC we actually believe it’s brave and courageous to replace exercises you can’t do yet, with ones you can do. And sometimes there are days when you know you could do that exercise. But today isn’t the day. When you listen to your body, you’re able to actually challenge yourself on the days that are great for that and take yourself down to another level on the days you need that. So that might be asking for some modifications, or using props to support your practice, or maybe taking things a little bit slower, or only doing a few minutes of the practice. All of that is a okay, because you’re listening to your body. While listening to your body, it’s important to notice a difference between something that is difficult, or painful. And this is something I’m going to share our own personal story for. I had broken my tibial plateau back in 2013. And when I was re-engaging with movement, My trainer was giving me things and I go, Oh, I can’t do that it hurts. I can’t do that it hurts. And he finally asked me, Is it hard? Or does it actually hurt like pain. And that was very interesting for me because I was attributing heart and pain as the same thing. So please know when you’re working out. The goal is to actually challenge yourself to create more strength in your body and take your body to another level so you can do your life better. However, please pay attention to when it’s an actual pain, like, oh, I shouldn’t be doing this. Or it’s just really hard. If it’s just really hard. Keep going. If there’s a pain, let your teacher know, if you’re an OPC member, let us know. So we can give you the proper modifications. So we can strengthen your bodies, we can either add that exercise back in down the road or keep it out forever.
There’s no shame in being in practice
And finally, there’s no shame in being in practice, being in the process, listening to your body and taking it slow on the days you need to. Remember, we believe it’s brave and courageous to replace an exercise you can’t do with one you can do yet. And so if you don’t have a replacement exercise, let us know so we can give that to you. At OPC, all of our classes are designed to be at all levels. Here on this channel, I’ve linked for you a beginner mat and a beginner reformer class that you can take right now. And over on the OnlinePilatesClasses.com™ app, we actually have a whole pilates beginner exercises – mat series that’s free for you to take.
Don’t rush. I feel like saying, don’t run in the house. But the reality is, I want you to find a flow in your practice and when you’re new where it’s gonna feel like you’re gonna be slower at things and when you’re more advanced, you will bring some zest to those exercises. But there is a difference going too slow. That’s actually going to challenge you in a way that’s not ideal or rushing the exercise. I see this in classes a lot. I’ll say okay, do five of these and people just zipping through that actually leads you to the choreography versus the quality of the movement. So focus on the quality of the exercise you’re doing. Keep a pace that allows you to work your whole body and every exercise, and have fun with it.
Do show up and enjoy the process
Do show up and enjoy the process. Here’s the thing, it’s important that you celebrate that you got there, that you did any amount of minutes Pilates that you did. Notice the aha moments you’re having and celebrate those find ways to go, oh my God, I had a strength or connection that I didn’t have before and really like truly high five yourself and be curious around the exercise you’re struggling with rather than shame or judge yourself.
Don’t forget, you’re a badass
Don’t forget, you’re a badass. Here is the deal. This is going to be a practice for your life, which is really important. Sometimes we think, okay, I’ve been doing it for 10 sessions, Lesley, I’m not getting it. You’ve been doing it for 10 sessions. And that’s really awesome. Every time you show up for your Pilates, practice is like a set at the gym. Okay. It’s compounding. And every time you come and do it, you’re giving yourself another set, another rep in those exercises, and over time, you’re gonna see amazing results. Alright, so you want to give yourself time to get those results. And part of that is going to be showing up consistently. And I know some of you are all or nothing kind of people, but that actually doesn’t work. It’s really, really important to me that you show up and do what you can, when you can and celebrate that you did it. And that’s where we at OPC come into play. We help hold you accountable and we cheer you on. Because even if you can only do five minutes a day, I’d rather do that than one day where you do 15 or 20. Or forget because you got really busy and you missed a whole week. Give yourself time to be in the practice, be in the process and celebrate that you showed up and did it.
Do practice Pilates with OPC
And lastly, do practice Pilates with OPC over at OnlinePilatesClasses.com™. We truly value, you coming as you are. We’ve got a great community to help support you and help you show up for yourself. And when you’re feeling like you don’t want to or you can’t make the time, we have a way to help you connect to yourself first, you can connect more to others. And we help you be consistent which is the most important thing to you the results you want to get. Over at OPC, we also have amazing instructors from all different backgrounds, different ages, different body types, and we love to cheer you on. All of our teachers are fully certified. That means they’ve done a comprehensive training. They know how to make modifications for where you are in your practice and also how to take you to the next level. So if you want to try that out, check us out here. Check us out and see if OPC is exactly where you should be playing with your Pilates practice. Thank you so much for letting me share these do’s and don’ts with you if you have any questions about anything about Pilates, put it in the comments below. I answer your questions Sundays at 9am Pacific time. I hope you show up for that live and make sure you subscribe to this channel and have an amazing day!