A Pilates practice starts at different levels and ranges from beginner to novice to intermediate. When starting Pilates the progress begins quickly and changes happen within the first ten sessions! Pilates is exciting and difficult at the same time. Everything feels hard, new and sometimes you feel exhausted by the end or not ready to move.
With practice and time an exercise feels easier and you focus less on what you’re doing and just move. As the knowledge increases with freedom of movement that’s when it’s time to remove the training wheels. We begin to challenge the body more and the mind accepts the challenge.
This is scary and exciting. The moment when you start to get comfortable is the sign to begin new challenges. As humans we strive to do well and to the best of our abilities. The new challenges are humbling and meaningful.
Look for ways to take off your training wheels even if you think you aren’t ready. You can practice lowering your legs during the hundred to eye level for a couple of breaths. Also try doing the hundred for the full 10 breaths.
I remember practicing long stretch on the reformer with two springs and having my instructor take off one spring. The change made the exercise harder and reminded me to get out of my comfort zone. That was my moment of taking off the training wheels. My instructor kept me from playing it safe and saw the potential within me. Now I continue to practice long stretch with one spring.
Why remove the training wheels? When do we know it’s time to stop being ‘safe’?
When you begin to challenge yourself more, stumbling and frustration happens and it’s normal. When you were a kid and no longer had training wheels, what happened? You may have fallen, scraped your knee, cried, got mad, etc. After falling you got back on the bike and tried again and didn’t give up.
The experiences and feelings are similar in Pilates. You’ll try the exercise in your next session with renewed vigor and say “I can do this!” It may not be perfect but it’s possible and it’s part of the process.