I'm Pilates instructor, and these are the four most common myths I battle daily.
The spotlight is on Pilates like never before. Still, many misconceptions are circulating out there about the practice of Pilates - the who, why, when, and how; creating barriers for people and stopping them from getting into what is a truly accessible form of daily movement that nourishes all the systems of the body. Myth 1: Yoga and Pilates are the same things, right? I have owned a studio in Bethesda for nearly three years, been teaching for 10, but some friends, bless them, still ask me how my yoga studio is going? It's not uncommon for people to bunch Pilates and yoga into the same group. However, while they can be incredibly complementary, the two practices have very different backgrounds and rules of movement. Yoga is centuries old, and its origins can be traced back to northern India over 5000 years ago. Pilates was founded by Joseph Pilates in 1920's following World War 1 and was originally called Contrology. Yoga is steeped in spirituality and deeply connected to yogic philosophy, guiding practices and poses. While I like to refer to Pilates class as going to church, there is no spiritual history tied to the method. That's not to say a Pilates class doesn't have soul. I weave breath work into the beginning and end of all my sessions, and through cues, encourage our clients to look inward for self-inquiry, feel rather than do, and think of the body as a whole.
Myth 2: You have to be super flexible to do Pilates We should always be moving toward the goal of having supple muscles, and by that, I mean muscles that can not only fully engage but also fully release. Muscles primarily work in opposing teams. One muscle cannot fully release until the opposing muscles engage. In Pilates, we place equal attention on the contraction of muscles, as in a bicep curl, and the eccentric release, which is the controlled lengthening of the muscles, as in slowly unhinging the elbow from the bicep curl. This dual focus creates the unique long, lean muscles that you develop when you practice Pilates. Pilates generally moves away from focusing on the big global movers of the body, instead targeting the smaller stabilizers of the body to create change, shape-shifting as you practice more. Do you need to be flexible to take a Pilates class? No. Will your muscles' shape, length, and activation change the more you practice? Without a doubt! Myth 3: It's a chick thing
I want to take a bomb, put it under this myth and blow it sky high! Pilates is not a chick thing. It was created for MEN! Joseph Pilates developed it to rehabilitate wounded soldiers during WWI.