Core. Pilates is about strengthening the core. And the core is where, exactly?
Five weeks ago, my knowledge of pilates could be summed up in two words, “It’s core”.
The difference is now I know where that core is. Since beginning my workouts with Diane of Compassionate Body Pilates, I have discovered which muscle groupings were related to core strength. Some of which I did not even know they existed.
At my session today, I was not only aware of them; they were sometimes called upon to hold me in a position or move me through some deliberate poses.
“This is not so bad”, I said to myself five weeks ago, after my first somewhat bumbling attempt to rotate an outstretched leg while standing, balanced on the other. “I would hardly call this exercise”, I smugly thought.
Then of course Diane discovered which parts of the workouts were easier for me, which needed adjusting and which were literally pains in the butt. And through gentle encouragement, progressive challenges and mindful coaching, I am starting to see the difference.
Now, after so many sessions on my own, in a class or with Diane in a one-on-one situation, I (and Diane) see progress in my stamina, balance, breathing and coordination.
I am seeing my squats come easier, even with this bad knee of mine. The standing leg circle mentioned above felt much better and so long as I kept my eyes open I could balance through it for the most part.
My shoulder positions are acceptable and the various planking positions are being held longer and longer. It is getting so I am starting to think about recommending Pilates to my friends.
Diane gave this series of blogs a name. She called them, “Dan’s Journey”. I took that name to heart and realized that Pilates could be the first part of a longer process of getting fit in mind and body and spirit.
I can’t help but consider this to be a sort of rehabilitation plan for me. While I didn’t suffer an immediate trauma that required convalescence medically, you could consider the decade of decay I suffered at my corporate desk job a train wreck in slow motion, taking ten years to come to it’s crashing, grinding halt.
As I near the halfway point of my 12-week program, the exercises are becoming more familiar and I glide between them with more grace than before. I challenge myself a little and when that is not enough Diane challenges me more.
I began thinking that Pilates was going to be a breeze but with the progress I have encountered, I think that I was wrong about everything. It is not about hard or easy, about strengthening the core.
It is about personal development. Learning new ways to relate to your body and enjoying small successes. Holding a plank position for ten (OK, three) breaths matters when last week it was two - and last month it was zero.
Every time I get a little better, Diane makes it a little harder. I won’t be finished with Pilates in the 12 weeks it takes to complete this program, but I will be more prepared to take on the next step of my journey.
P.S. Why not join me Tuesday October 18, 2016 for a “Taster Class” at the Lake/Carlton plaza? For only $10 you can try out some of the positions and movements that I have been on about. If we are “lucky” maybe Diane will bring out the Big Balls.
By Dan Willis
Diane Archer, Pilates Instructor from the UK now living back in Canada. Blog of tips, thoughts, home challenges.