Overcoming Fears: Navigating Pilates as a New Practitioner
Before diving into Pilates, one often wonders: How strong or flexible must one be? Is Pilates exclusively for dancers? At what age is it suitable to start? Does one need perfect health, or is it beneficial to have experienced injuries to understand Pilates’ purpose? These questions and fears frequently arise when contemplating Pilates.
Walking into a Pilates studio for the first time can trigger a myriad of thoughts. The equipment may seem intimidating, especially the Cadillac, if it’s your first encounter. The movements might appear complex and unfamiliar, creating a sense of self-doubt. For those new to Pilates, there might be a perception that they are incapable of doing it.
Individuals dealing with injuries, uncertain about how pain caused by those injuries will react to Pilates, may feel a tinge of apprehension. Will it help or exacerbate the situation? Will it induce pain in different ways? Clients attending Pilates due to injury or pain might fear being put in situations triggering discomfort or worsening their condition. Others new to physical activity might not have exercised in a long time or are entirely new to it, experiencing new muscles or sensations, which can be overwhelming.
The sight of various apparatuses and learning the new sequences required for Pilates can be disconcerting. Fear of trying something new is natural for many entering the world of Pilates, causing uncertainty about attempting this new endeavor.
This doesn’t imply that a fit and healthy person entering a Pilates studio for the first time won’t experience fear or challenges. For them, the first Pilates session might be challenging as they overcome the fear of doing something they believe they can’t or feeling out of control while learning this new form of exercise. They might have been active, engaged in various sports, but Pilates is different from what they’ve done before, making them feel “not good at it.”
This is where Pilates instructors guide clients and classes in overcoming these fears and challenges.
Pilates is about the individual and each client’s body, not comparisons or expecting every body to perform the same way. This ensures that the exercise is tailored to their needs—what they can do, at what pace and level, and how and when to challenge themselves.
When overcoming fears due to pain, trust in your Pilates instructor is paramount. For those dealing with sustained pain from injuries or even past pain but still fearful of doing something due to the fear of pain, Pilates instructors need to ensure that the pace and level are safe and supportive. This is where the path of learning in Pilates lies and understanding where and how to move at a pace that makes you stronger, promoting healthy and appropriate movement for your body.
Regardless of the pain you’ve experienced, Pilates and your instructor can help you move through the foundational principles of Pilates, making you stronger, more connected, and moving at a pace that feels safe and supported, even if you’ve dealt with or are dealing with pain.
For those entering Pilates and are physically robust with no health issues, they face fears and challenges unrelated to injury or pain but in their minds thinking they “can’t do it.” They can rely on Pilates instructors to provide guidance and foundational principles to achieve their goals. Challenging themselves without feeling overwhelmed.
New clients entering the studio face different fears and challenges, and as a Pilates instructor, it’s crucial to give you the time and space to navigate them in your own way and ability.
The beauty of Pilates and the work of Joseph Pilates lies in there being no right or wrong way. It’s your time and exercise, exploring what you can do, how to do it, and building from there. Embark on this journey with your Pilates instructor, helping you overcome the fears and challenges you might encounter as a new Pilates practitioner.
Tailoring Pilates: Individualized Approaches for Different Journeys
Pilates is all about supporting and guiding your body to understand its optimal movement and connection. It provides the tools and guidance for everyone to move in a way that suits their needs, at their pace, and at their level, promoting confidence and support to handle everyday activities. This might include getting in and out of cars, lifting groceries, running marathons, climbing mountains, staying pain-free, and engaging in more movement to address pain, among other things.
A good Pilates instructor is aware that anyone attending their first Pilates class may feel overwhelmed. Taking the time to understand and move with you in your way and ability is what this instructor will do. By the tenth class, you’ll feel confident, knowing the path you and your instructor have set for you.
Over the years, this path may change, but with your instructor’s guidance, providing tools and confidence, it won’t be unsettling!