“Working at Your 80%” is the fifth post in a series called “My Pilates Journey” where Mary writes about her experience as she begins Pilates sessions with Chris Blagdon at the Edinburgh Pilates Centre. Click here to read about the first class.
As you can have probably tell by now, there are quite a lot of things I like about Pilates and about how Chris teaches Pilates at the Edinburgh Pilates Centre. Something that I haven’t fully spoken about yet is the acceptance in the studio that you aren’t always going to be on top form. Whether that be physical, emotional or mentally, there are always going to be hiccoughs that can make it harder to relax or will inhibit the desire to exercise.
For my 5th session, this was just the case. At the weekend I had done the EMF 10k in the blistering heat. Perhaps some of you did it too – if so, how did you find it? Personally, I was still feeling the ache of that initial incline up Arthur’s Seat in the morning sun. Walking into the Edinburgh Pilates Centre, I was a little worried about how much the session was going to hurt, as after the 10K I sidestepped stretching and went straight for lunch, but I shouldn’t have been. Chris’ teaching is focused on getting the maximum gain with the effort that your body can put in. Don’t get me wrong, there are no shortcuts! Rather, an awareness that it’s your body and you know what’s going on with it more than he does, but that he is there to guide you to the best result.
For anyone that is nervous about going to Pilates because they are struggling to motivate themselves after a busy week or feel that they aren’t flexible or strong enough, I understand that worry. However, Chris’ classes have taught me that there’s no starting benchmark that you have to be meet before you enter the class. All Chris asks in the studio is that you go in and do the best that you and your body can do on that day – and that’s enough.
Exercise of the week:
This exercise is one that can be easily be done at home.
- Lie on your side with your the arm that is underneath you straight out and your other hand supporting at your hip. You’ll want to grip here if like me you have tight hip flexors. This is so that the hip flexors don’t do all the work in this movement as you are working your inner and outer thighs.
- Breath in, pull your abdominal muscles in as far as you can. Then, with the leg underneath you bent at a right angle, straighten your other leg, tighten the knee and do your best to elongate the leg.
- Start with your leg stretched out just off the ground, exhale, and then lift it up until you reach the point where your muscles are working their hardest with your hand gripping your hip.
- Then inhale and lower your leg back to the starting position.
In our session, I repeated this 10 times on each side, see how you feel and go from there.
Please get in touch if you have any questions about Pilates or are interested in beginning your own Pilates journey.