#1. The Pilates Difference – A Whole New Lifestyle
Coming to the States from Turkey (I was pursuing my Master’s Degree at the time), my definition of a “real workout” became completely warped. Between social media and societal expectations of beauty, I felt like I was handcuffed to the gym. I spent hours doing intense workouts that would leave me soaked in sweat and gasping for air. To say I was completely miserable is an understatement. I would DREAD every single second I spent in that gym.
I needed a serious change. I couldn’t muster up the motivation to drag myself to the gym and I was sick of fitness trends and fat diets. Funny enough, it was my physician who recommended Pilates in response to some back pain I was experiencing. At that point, I figured, why the heck not? What have I got to lose? I needed to break free from unhappiness. From the anxiety. It was – and remains to this day – the best decision I’ve ever made for both my physical and psychological health.
#2. What Is Pilates?
The exercise, which has been around since the early 20th century, uses techniques involving the fusion of the body and mind. It’s no surprise it’s become so popular – it effectively conditions your entire body through the use of fluid movements, proper alignment, controlled breathing, and mental focus. Today, more than 11 million people actively practice pilates with over 14,000 instructors teaching the exercise around the country.
#3. What Are The Benefits of Doing Pilates?
Pilates was created as a means for strengthening your core, improving posture, elongating the spine, enhancing your balance, and increasing your overall strength. There are six key principles to practicing Pilates – flow, control, breathing, centering, precision, and concentration. One of the things I love about this exercise is it can be done with or without equipment. That means you can do the workout anytime and anywhere – like the comfort and convenience of your home, the backyard, the beach – wherever your heart desires.
Similarly, if you want to challenge yourself and kick it up a notch, exercises can be performed with hand weights, machines like the reformer, or other props. No matter which route you take, Pilates will help you create a longer, leaner, and toned body. You’ll find yourself standing taller and feeling a renewed sense of confidence; not to mention, a much-welcomed reprieve from the destabilizing feelings of stress and anxiety. Seriously, it’s like chocolate for your mind and body (or whatever food makes your taste buds jump for joy).
#4. How You Can Use Pilates to Change Your Life
Pilates is one of those workouts that looks deceptively easy. Like learning anything new, it takes a little practice, patience, and time to start looking like a pro. What’s more, the tiny shifts in body positioning and movement will help you build strength and flexibility without the bulk.
Yes, your legs will shake and your abdominal muscles will be sore – but you will also form a healthier and happier relationship with your mind and body. It’s honestly amazing. You become dialed into a more passionate and energized version of yourself. In lieu of feeling drained and exhausted post-workout, you’ll find yourself clear-headed, focused, motivated, and just overall reinvigorated.
Not only will you see a vast improvement in your daily life, but regularly practicing Pilates will also help strengthen your immune system, boost your metabolic rate, and improve digestion. Think about it: a single exercise system designed to harmonize your body, mind, and spirit? It doesn’t get much better than that. By learning to exercise mindfulness, you’ll also create a body that you love.
And that’s really the beauty of it all. It doesn’t matter if you’re just entering the fitness world for the first time or you’ve been playing sports your entire life – the practice is for all shapes, sizes, and experience levels. Everyone can reap the benefits of Pilates – even beginners. You don’t have to be “fit” or a professional dancer to take advantage of all the exercise has to offer (contrary to the sentiment and images they feed you in magazines).
According to Mayo Clinic, “Pilates can be adapted to provide a gentle strength training and stability program, or it can be modified to give a seasoned athlete a challenging workout. If you’re just starting out, it’s a good idea to go slow at first and gradually increase the intensity of your workout.” In order to get the most out of your session (and ensure you’re using the correct form), try this step-by-step program designed to help beginners get the best results possible.
You deserve to feel self-love. You deserve to feel worthy. You deserve to feel empowered. It’s truly been a wonderful journey discovering all the benefits Pilates offers.
#5. A Little Commitment Goes A Long Way
I think we can all agree: 2020 came in hot — dumping an unexpected bundle of uncertainty, fear, and isolation on us. It has – and still is – disrupting many of our lives. As someone who always tries to find the light within the darkness, I found a new appreciation for the way technology can be used to connect with others.
Despite social distancing or “stay in place” orders, there’s still a beautiful thing called the internet. Not only did it serve as a way for me to help other like-minded people take care of their bodies via online Pilates classes, but I saw a lot of light bulbs going off above people’s heads.
There have been a ton of “aha” moments, like why invest in a gym membership that you despise (and drains your bank account)? Or, there’s no need to be consumed by feelings of loneliness – there’s a whole community of people just like you to create shared experiences with while embarking on a journey towards a healthier, more satisfying life.
When you have the support of regular, everyday people – and they’re striving towards better wellness with you – you’ll discover a renewed sense of motivation. Who wouldn’t want the opportunity to feel unbelievably good? All you need to do is take the first step. From there, you have easy-to-follow, convenient online Pilates workouts that fit your lifestyle right at your fingertips.
Perhaps the biggest discovery of all was that exercise and taking care of my body didn’t have to be a nightmare. It could be enjoyable. Inspiring. Fun. Yep, you read that right…fun!
Happier & Healthier – The Pilates Way
Pilates provides a gateway for people to stop judging their bodies and instead, begin exercising self-care. Once you start releasing some feel-good endorphins, you’ll find yourself naturally making healthier choices because you enjoy the positive impact it’s having on your life.