I don’t know about your experience, but I find that most people starting Pilates experience a huge breakthrough about six to twelve months into their Pilates journey. “It’s starting to make sense now” is what I often hear at that stage.
If you’re reading this because you’re considering starting Pilates, this might sound way too long to wait for results and definitely not worth the effort.
On the other hand - if you’ve been practicing for years, you’re probably nodding your head with agreement. You have realized that it takes much longer than you first imagined to change our movement patterns. “Better years than never” is what one of my students recently said, with a big smile on her face. She was thrilled that she found a solution to her problem, no matter how long it would take.
Before you decide Pilates is totally not worth it, let me explain to you why this process takes so long.
In an article I wrote for PilatesPal, I discuss how group classes strengthen your patterns, your good ones AND your bad ones. You get better at what you're already good at but you’re not getting better at what you’re not good at.
It takes a lot of (mental) effort to turn a downward spiral into an upward spiral. Patterns are basically habits. Habits are unconscious. They’re easy, requiring no concentration.
The first step is to slow down the downward momentum (by noticing your bad movement patterns). Then you come to a (sort of) stand still where you can control (not do) your bad patterns but the new ones that should substitute the old ones aren’t strong enough yet to work consistently. This is where you change direction for the better, you initiate the upward spiral and with even more practice you’ll eventually gain momentum in a positive direction.
In other words, the better it gets, the better it gets (and the worse it gets, the worse it gets).
So is it worth it? Let me ask you: Are you totally happy with the way your body feels? Do you have tons of energy? No aches, twinges nor pain in any joints or muscles? Good for you. Keep doing what you’re doing.
But if you wake up with a stiff neck, your knee hurts when walking down stairs or a hill or your back kills you after a long car ride, then Pilates is the thing for you.
Let’s get better, shall we?
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