Apart from being three of my favorite things, it’s all about returning to the beginning.
I started my Pilates journey after taking Pilates sessions for my back and neck pain out in Sydney (where I lived)
That was some 22 years ago. It was my Pilates beginning.
At first, I was all about the matwork, but the type of class I went to just wasn’t my cup of tea, you know? It was all toe taps and clams and hardly moving -not really my thing.
So I tried to intensify it up and went to Dynamic Mat Pilates (like HIIT classes wearing Pilates clothes and saying the word core a lot!) But it didn’t help my back at all.
I tried out Reformer Pilates but it was like an exercise to music class with different routines each week. It didn’t help my back either and I found myself even more confused about what Pilates was actually meant to be at its core.
But as soon as I got into an actual Pilates studio with the full apparatus experience, it was like a lightbulb went off! Everything clicked into place; I could feel the feedback from what the apparatus gave me; the support helped me to feel those hiding weak inner muscles. It gave me confidence. I could feel muscles working deep inside me. I was allowed to move without fear and over-stabilising cues, but not move so fast. I was doing things willy-nilly.
I was hooked! I went three times a week to a mixture of apparatus and classical matwork sessions, and then, having found out what the matwork was really meant for and how it was meant to be done, well, now, suddenly, the matwork made sense!
I stopped searching for more and more, expecting bigger, hotter, and faster, and returned to the beginning. To the roots.
Life before Pilates
You might not know about me, but before my Pilates beginnings, I had a career in media. TV and radio production, internal web design, P.A to some head honchos and a spot of TV presenting thrown in!
When I returned to the UK, I decided I either wanted to start a TV production company or a Pilates career, and I was going to call it either “Soggy Biscuit Productions” or “Karma Junkies.”
I did start Karma Junkies (addicted to karma) and I trained to be a Pilates teacher in 2003, two years after I first started feeling it in my body.
Fast forward 20 years, two children, 12 awards, and countless thousands of clients that I have taught from 92-year-olds to 8-year-olds, premiership footballers, to west-end stars, singers, GB athletes, journalists, WAGS, grandmothers, mums to be, grandads to new dads, to Pilates trainee teachers and those experiencing crippling debilitating back pain.
It’s been a blast.
But everyone’s journey has to start somewhere, and every secret to the next step forward is returning to the beginning and the lessons learned.
Learning to accept to walk before you can run.
Building excellent foundations.
Learning to repeat behaviours until they become a habit.
Getting really good at the basics.
It’s like learning to make an excellent classic chocolate cake.
No fuss, no frills, just great solid classics you can rely on that will last you a lifetime.
Failing, trying again, working out what you did wrong, and bettering it next time. Until, suddenly you get a successful chocolate cake outcome. You do it again and it works again. Nailed it!
It’s a humbling experience.
Pilates isn’t about a list of haphazard exercises or random workouts made up for choreography.
It’s not about doing a lunge squat combo one week, and a bicep curl into tuck pike the next week.
It’s not about Pilates for ab days, Pilates leg days. It’s not about making poses for Instagram or ‘feel the burn’ HIIT Pilates.
It’s not about keeping up with the Jones’ or always searching for the next intensity level.
It’s not about adding more and more weights, nor is it working on no springs.
It’s not about adding in boxing to your Pilates, or using a Reformer like a PT machine.
It’s not about adding in goats to Pilates or increasing the heat, or adding in prosecco to your Pilates ( ok, that one we might come back to!)
There are no lessons learned there. No secrets were uncovered. No bodies truly transformed for life.
You’re paying for it anyway so you may as well get it right in the beginning!
I’m all down for fun, no harm done, short fix workouts for the hell of it. But if I want do really do Pilates, learn the method and get the results that this amazing discipline can bring, well I wanna be sure what I am paying for is the real deal.
Pilates is a method recognized by doctors, physios, chiropractors, dancers, athletes, and more to transform your whole life, your whole being, about how you move and go about your day. Strength with stretch and control.
It’s about making your own chocolate cake recipe that works for you. Going back to the beginnings and accepting that’s where you are today and working on it from there. Diving into the basics to see what secrets you can unlock to move things forward.
Because as we all know, once you’ve got a great classic chocolate cake, the sky’s the limit to get creative!
Written by Owner and Pilates teacher, Michelle Smith