1. Line Up Your Feet
Do you know what I constantly see in class? People standing with their feet turned out or turned in. Actually I have to admit that I turn my feet out all the time without even realising it! What you need to know is that having your feet correctly aligned i.e. in parallel, hip distance apart, toes pointing forward, weight evenly placed over the tri-points of the foot, can make an huge difference to your Pilates session. Feet need to be lined up correctly so that you can avoid the domino effect where misaligned feet create misalignment right up the leg line….through your knees, hips, pelvis and even your neck. Sloppy foot placement and movement will translate into sloppy and inefficient movement not only in class but in everyday life. Without good alignment you won’t be able to lift as much weight, run as far, have good balance or even just work your body properly.
Anyone who has been in a Pilates class or private session with me will know that this one is important. You’ll often hear me saying ‘Don’t forget to breathe’. ‘Just breathe’. You shouldn’t ever feel embarrassed to take deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth, but if you are a little self conscious, at least consider breathing as fully as you possibly can. Breathing well will get your heart pumping and your blood flowing, which in turn helps detoxify your body. For a lot of Pilates exercises, proper breathing also helps you execute the exercises better.
3. Change Your Clothes
This doesn’t mean you need to go and spend hundreds of dollars on the latest workout wear! You should wear clothes that you feel comfortable in, and are easy to move in. However, try to avoid outfits that are too baggy – if you are hiding under voluminous gear your instructor can’t see your body. If they can’t see your body they can’t help you correct poor form.
4. Go Slower or Faster
The human body has the most amazing ability to adapt quickly and form habits where we start doing things including exercise in the same way every day. That’s fantastic if you are perfect at what you do. But most of us aren’t and the kicker is that we will form a bad habit as quickly as we form a good one. So if you want to teach your body something new, doing a movement faster or slower than usual will allow your body to learn it in a new way. This trick is used in muscular re-patterning. Why not try this with individual exercise or move, and see how you go?
5. Take a Private Lesson
The minute you decide to get a private Pilates class, your workouts are going to come into much sharper focus. It will bring your attention to what you are, or perhaps are not doing, and what you want to be able to do. With a private session you are going to learn things about your body that will improve your workouts for a long time to come.