pilates done....wright. (right?)
I know, you get it.
pilates. (a form of exercise)
done. (you actually have to do)
(w)right. (as correctly as possible).
My husband, Scott, came up with the play on words using our last name. (After a thirty years of making the “Mr. Wright” joke whenever possible, it was only natural). At first, I found the name for my home-based Pilates business a bit too cute, too cliché -- perhaps too obvious?
However, like most of Scott’s ideas, the name eventually grew on me, and turned out all…(w)right (sorry, I had to!) Not to mention, PDW are my initials (Pamela Dischner Wright).
Still, the idea of actually doing Pilates “right” seems sometimes laughable. It is more like an ever-changing, almost, but never quite achievable goal. Pilates, is a practice, a process - a system of exercises that incorporates not only the physical aspects of movement, but also the challenge of mindfulness, or simply awareness, and can be further complicated by all the emotions of the past and present competing for your attention.
The hundreds of Pilates movement patterns should be learned over a period of time, with many repetitions and hopefully both internal and external feedback. As for the number of times it takes to truly integrate a new movement pattern in Pilates, I’ve seen figures ranging from 25,000 to 50,000. And I believe it.
My thought processes during a typical Pilates practice session:
I find the correct breath pattern, feel the stability in my shoulder blades, spine and pelvis, note the muscles engaging correctly and solidly, start the mobility component and…oh, wait, this feels more challenging then I’d expected. OK, now I’ve got it, but I lost the neutral pelvis position. Oh wait, got it back. But, now the breath pattern is off...
You get it; every practice is a challenge. Pilates movements are meant to encompass your mind, your heart, and your body. But rarely do we find everything coming together on each and every repetition.
So, yes, I practice. Training with a goal of doing it well. Striving to improve each repetition, each session, each month, each year. I doubt I could ever truthfully say I’m doing it “right,” because there will always be room for growth.
I celebrate when improvements can be felt and seen in my body. I push harder when they do not come easily, and I accept when my body is not ready to move forward.
That is my definition of pilates done wright.
Since opening pilates done wright, the two questions I get asked most often are:
1. “When did you start Pilates?”
2. "Why did your start Pilates?"
When people think "Pilates instructor," they usually picture a young, thin fitness model. Naturally, I worried was too old, too large or too health challenged to do Pilates, let alone be a Pilates Instructor (some days, I still do!)
So, before you ask, I'll answer:
When and why did I start Pilates?
I started in Pilates a little over ten years ago. Like most of us, I simply wanted to “get in shape.” As a member of a national health club chain, I had tried it all: the aerobics, weight training, stair master, swimming and treadmill routines.
One quiet Sunday, I spotted the Pilates reformers in the rooms near the yoga classes I was trying to love. After finding out that I would have to pay extra on top of my monthly gym fee to take private sessions with a trainer, I was hesitant. But eventually, I convinced myself that it might be worth paying for a few sessions. During the first session, I remember loving the feeling of lengthening my muscles with movement. I decided to pursue both mat and reformer classes, but I was told I would not (and never would be), allowed to practice on the reformer by myself. This was slightly infuriating to me; after several sessions I was quite sure I knew enough to proceed independently. After all, I was rehabilitation therapist and Pilates wasn’t really that complicated, right?
I continued with the large health club chain reformer classes until a friend referred me to a much smaller, local Pilates fitness center. I started private training sessions with a lovely, somewhat “typical” Pilates instructor: a former dancer with a long, lean graceful body that made my 6 foot, large-framed body feel a bit awkward and unrefined. Despite her reassurances I was progressing in Pilates, I found myself sweating - not perspiring - as I willingly struggled to complete the movements she so easily demonstrated.
Nevertheless, as they say, I persisted. Over the course of five-six years, I ended up working with Kandace, a true goddess of a Pilates trainer. She is a fully certified Pilates instructor, with numerous other credentials as well. Kandace is the one who helped give me the flexibility, strength and confidence I needed when in August of 2016, I decided to look into acquiring my Pilates trainer certification.
After conferring with my most trusted consultants (my husband and two daughters), who quickly encouraged me to “go for it”, I gave my credit card to a woman at the only facility in Minnesota accredited to provide this education and credential.
I thought my background in hand therapy, familiarity with anatomy, “years” of Pilates experience would all make this a fun, maybe not too difficult challenge. LOL. No truly, go ahead and laugh out loud. What was I thinking? A fifty-six-year-old body with a complex medical history, numerous back/knee/shoulder injuries and NO fitness training???
While attending my first course, I very quickly realized not only the strength and physical mastery I would need to acquire, but the anatomy, training skills, queuing and literally hundreds of exercises I would need to memorize both in body and mind. I now look back at my naivete in every step of this process and yes, I laugh out loud little.
But after successfully becoming STOTT PILATES® Certified Instructor in May of 2017, I am confident I can provide professional, fun, and helpful training for my clients. My overall attitude towards Pilates is a healthy respect for all there is yet to know, learn and experience; I am consistently gaining new techniques and strategies and utilizing them in my practice with clients.
pilates done wright take-aways: