Welcome to the first post in a new series called “My Pilates Journey” where Mary writes about her experience as she begins Pilates sessions with Chris Blagdon at the Edinburgh Pilates Centre.
Making my way to the Edinburgh Pilates Centre, I was nervous about what to expect from the assessment class. The word assessment can come off a little scary, especially when it is your own body someone is looking at. Although I have done yoga in the past, Pilates has always remained a mystery that, in my mind, was made for flexible people – a quality I have never attributed to myself. Upon entering the studio, all of my nerves dissipated. The room was warm and calming, with a class of three were already working on different areas of their body with Chris Blagdon, the owner and head of the Pilates Centre, moving expertly between them.
After filling out a medical history from, Chris asked me to stand in front of the mirror. Here he walked around and examined how I held my body when relaxed. Chris’ professional and warm nature was non-judgemental. After a minute or so, he pinpointed areas that we were going to work on in that session and for future ones – pelvis tilted forwards, left shoulder raised (my bag carrying arm), feet pointing slightly outwards, and shoulders rounded forward.
Listening to Chris explain how each of these issues was impacting my body and explaining the lower back pain I was having, I was struck by how much knowledge he has and how each person in that class was doing different exercises to benefit them rather than for sake of it.
If you’ve read a previous blog on here about the six principles of Pilates, then you will know that breathing is a key pillar of the practice. Our first exercise was to work on my breathing to completely fill up my rib cage, release and squeeze the abs whilst lying on my back with the knees bent. From here, in the same position, I did the same breathing but after squeezing the abs as far down as possible I pushed on my feet to lift my lower back of the couch and exhaled down. This was then built up to oblique, shoulder and hip flexor stretches. In between showing the exercises, Chris would walk between us and either encourage or correct a movement. Even if Chris was not next to you, he was still keeping an eye on each of us to make sure that we were doing the movements correctly. At the end of the session, we did a cool down where Chris took the time to demonstrate the best way to stretch by using your breath.
After the first session, I could already feel the difference. My hip flexors and obliques, in particular, felt lighter. As I was walking back to my car, laughing comically at myself for how my legs were kicking out more the usual as my hip flexors were relaxed, I was already looking forward to the next session. For those that are nervous about starting the Edinburgh Pilates Centre is warm, inviting, and a safe environment that I, already, cannot recommend enough.
Please get in touch if you have any questions about Pilates or are interested in beginning your own Pilates journey.