My first experience with Pilates was at one of those big gyms in Singapore. Being a newbie in the wide world of fitness, I know nuts about weights, and thought it would be safer to start with group classes. Pilates is supposed to be a low-impact workout right?
The multi-rep styled exercises were not so bad but then I began to feel it in my neck. But everyone was going hard at it especially since the instructor kept screaming for us to keep going and not give up. I felt too self-conscious to stop and so I always finish each class with a neckache, instead of a "abdominal" ache. And so, as you would expect, I stopped attending the class.
What I didn't realise then, that I know now is that the neckache is due to my scoliosis in my upper right thoracic spine. This was diagnosed when I was very young, which wasn't that bad to warrant a brace, but overtime inadvertently affected my posture, plus years of scrounging behind a computer further exacerbates the "forward head" or in my case a “tight neck” syndrome.
I wish I’d known that -
IT IS OK TO MODIFY AND BRING THE HANDS BEHIND MY HEAD SO I CAN FOCUS ON ENGAGING MY CORE.
Perhaps I would have loved Pilates much earlier in life.
Now as a Pilates Teacher, I understand the functionality of this practice and why everyone should learn Pilates. They should take it not when they are recovering from an injury but as a prevention to potential injury. Because Pilates is all about strengthening your core, which is your powerhouse, and making muscle memory to keep your body safe when you do other sports or even your day to day stuff.
I do push my students to go beyond their comfort zone, but I remind them if other parts of the body hurt, to modify or rest and then come back again because they will get stronger and stronger every time they show up. Patience is a virtue for those with a broken body but it strengthens the mind and eventually the body with time.
So that's the one essential thing I wish I'd knew -