Ultimate Pilates Blog

The monthly ramblings of a Pilates Mongrel

Why Pilates Mongrel ?

Currently Pilates divides into two camps, Contemporary Pilates and Classical Pilates. As a generalisation Contemporary Pilates doesn’t follow a specific order of exercises and can have many variations and modification of exercise, Classical Pilates has the intention of following what is generally considered to be an order close to Joseph Pilates original teaching, and only uses modifications / variations where necessary for the person performing the exercise.

Originally I trained as a contemporary teacher and believed that it was the only way Pilates should be taught as it was all I knew. By lucky chance in my constant quest for knowledge I attended a workshop on Classical Pilates Mat and fell in love. I retrained completely and became passionate about teaching only this style of Pilates.

I am a constant student and as I continued to study I began to realize that within the classical world were a handful of teachers who had all been taught by Joseph Pilates, and had gone on to develop the work and train other teachers. The exercises were the same but there were slight differences and the more I learned the more I realized they were each given versions of the exercises that were relevant to their particular bodies.

By studying with many different teachers I began to realize there wasn’t one correct true version of an exercise but an intelligent teacher would use the version that worked on correcting that particular clients weakness or imbalance. Some of the original teachers had developed a whole host of Pre-Pilates exercises, different language and ways to do exercises that introduced a freedom to the movement.

So I went from a very ridged system of exercise to exploring more freedom within the order of the exercises and begun to see my clients develop their own intelligence about the way their bodies moved and what worked best for them. Permitting myself to have more freedom to teach what made sense to me, meant I no longer sat in the heart of the classical world but neither did I sit in the contemporary world. I finally learned to have enough confidence not to care as the only thing that matters to me is seeing my clients bodies change, seeing that moment when they work out what I’m trying to teach their body to do, and finding joy in what I do every day.

So in conversation with another teacher from the contemporary world I coined the term Pilates Mongrel as I sit in the no man’s land between both camps. Being a Dog lover and owner I do know that Mongrels often live longer, healthier lives than pedigrees so this mongrel is going to stay traveling her own path!

To workout or not to workout that is the question

I get asked all the time how many times a week I do Pilates and how many times someone should do Pilates. Mmm that’s a tricky one to answer. When Pilates really becomes part of your life, you catch yourself “doing it” many times a day. Every time you correct your shoulder placement, remind yourself to keep your ribs over your pelvis or shift your weight back onto your heels - your living Pilates.

I know, I know, but that isn’t a hard core sweaty workout, that’s just doing stuff. Don’t sweat! the small stuff makes the biggest changes in the shortest time.

But you still feel you should be doing more, and good for you!

The answer to how many times I do Pilates is around 3-4 times a week, but I also do yoga and walk and try to get in as much movement as possible on a daily basis. I climb on worktops to get to high cupboards, squat to get in low cupboards bend and twist, hang off things. I’m no different to you, I run two business and have a time consuming hubby and pets, and there isn’t always time to get in hours of exercise.

Here’s the thing if you start thinking you have to do so many hours a week, you probably won’t achieve that target because life is busy and stressful. So how about if one week you did the 100 let’s say 3 times, by the time class came you would probably be better at breathing, your shoulders might feel more free and your legs stronger. But let’s add in on your journey to work and back you practice breathing fully for 5 counts in and out, by your next class your breathing will blow me away!

If every time you’re standing you practice wrapping the back of the legs, holding your legs in the 100 is going to be a breeze. How about while you’re sitting you practice rolling your head or neck in circles? Suddenly holding your head up in the 100 might not feel so much of a pain and if a few times a day you worked on rolling your spine up and down a wall all sorts of good things might come your way and how many additional hours of workout did you do?

So if you have the time, workout as often as you can and want to, but if you don’t it’s not an excuse not to “do” Pilates. Remember moving more during the day and in as many different ways as your imagination can think of will benefit you more than working out 3x a week.