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Feedback From the Field: Pilates Practice Challenges

Apr 14, 2008

In a previous issue of Inner IDEA Body-Mind-Spirit Review, we asked: Is there a particular exercise in the Pilates repertoire that you tend to struggle with in your personal practice? How do you approach this challenge?

“It’s true that the exercises we dislike the most are the ones we need the most. Both myself and my clients tend to dislike the exercises we struggle with the most. For the first few years of my practice I had trouble doing any spinal extension exercises (swan, swimming, pull straps, down stretch, rocking, etc.) without “crunching” in my lumbar spine. Interestingly, this was often the most common struggle with my clients as well.

“At first I shied away from these exercises, and my practice (and my clients’) became far too flexion-based. I realized that extension needed to be conquered. If I couldn’t do it, how could I expect my clients to? I worked slowly on these exercises for the next year and paid special attention to lengthening and supporting the spine in extension. Gradually my spine got more flexible and extension became joyful rather than painful. It really opens up the chest when done correctly!

“I took my clients with me on my challenge and shared my success with them. Gradually, they too had results. Now I can’t say that they all beg for swan, but most of them have realized how important it is to perform extension properly every workout and every day!”

-- Maria Andresino, New York

“For a long time, I was embarrassed about my teaser. I knew my form was amateur, and being an instructor, I didn’t want to seem inexperienced. Eventually, I had to teach it and be able to demonstrate it well. So I took the time to work on it every day until I got it right. Now I teach it all the time and proudly demonstrate it whenever appropriate. Oh, and I still do it as part of my own workout because, well, I love it!”

-- Lizette Ayala, Clifton, Virginia

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