Muscular Dysfunction is a term that I have grown quite attached to in the past few months. One of our Master Instructors, Marjorie Oron, used it in reference to my personal situation where the wrong muscles are taking over for the ones we are trying to work. The result can be painful and quite frustrating. The human body is so clever at compensating in order to achieve a particular “goal” that it often tricks us without our knowledge. Of course we are not trying to cheat! Having someone to watch you to ensure correct alignment, proper form and correct muscular engagement are very important in an effective workout (be it Pilates or another form of exercise). Then we can help those “misbehaving” muscles figure out how to do their fair share! So have someone check you out so that you’re not (unknowingly) encouraging bad behavior!
I am always curious to ask folks after their first lesson if Pilates is what they thought it would be. I, for one, really had no idea what to expect when I went in for my first class. Then when I saw the apparatus, I really thought I was in trouble. What in the world is this thing going to do to me? I quickly learned the benefits (and that I would be moving the apparatus, as opposed to the other way around) and was hooked. How about any blog readers? Willing to share any pre-conceived notions of Pilates? Were they accurate? Are you still curious about it and never actually made it into a studio? Sharing time folks- let’s hear it!
Unfortunately, stuff happens. We all get injured or incur some issue from time to time that requires extra attention. While some Romana’s Pilates instructors are physical therapists, many of us are not and do not claim to do their job. However, once you have been cleared by your Doc and/or PT, sure you can do Pilates! If an area is still injured and hurts to move it a great deal, “Move what doesn’t hurt, don’t move what does!” (in the words of my mentors, Romana, Sari and Juanita). Modifications don’t necessarily make the exercise easier, simply more appropriate on a given day. Once past the injured stage, modified movement (that is appropriate) can help promote healing to the area. Finally, strengthening a weak, or once injured area gets us back to balanced and working efficiently.
“Gosh, roll up is so easy when it’s that slow!” Um- pardon? When a movement is slowed down, it should hardly feel like a piece of cake. You really have the time to examine every aspect of your body during the exercise. Are you working evenly? Are you keeping (or even deepening) your scoop the entire time? Are you only engaging the muscles required or are you recruiting some “old favorites?’ (i.e. shoulders, quads, etc…) All of these questions can be part of your mental process during this mind/body work. So if you are only able to get in your most “basic” mat work or make it to “just” a Fundamentals or Beg 2 class, good for you! Often times, the slower you work, the more challenged you should feel- not the opposite.