I have so many questions about Pilates!
When should I do my Pilates exercise?
You can exercise any time of the day but certainly not straight after a big meal. If you have to attend a Pilates class try to plan your meals accordingly. In my own experience trying to control my abdominals soon after a meal is quite difficult and not recommended.
Do not try to flex through the spine (reach your toes) as soon as you get out of bed. This is not recommended because the nervous system and back muscles need to wake up before you try to flex deeply. The ligaments (in this instance) take over and you can cause injury by flexing too early from rising.
You may also find it easier to exercise later in the day when your muscles are not so tight.
I find Yoga hard so will I like Pilates?
Pilates like Yoga is a great way to strengthen your body. Pilates can be taken in small tiny steps. If you find that you are straining your neck muscles, for example, trying to do a hundred then place your head down. You should have length through your neck and no tension. You should not be wobbling or shaking violently in any position. You should be shown how to reduce the level of difficulty so that that you can be successful.
What modifications do I need?
That will depend on your body posture and your muscle strength your Pilates instructor can advise you as he or she watches your movements.
I have a Pilates dvd do I really know what I am doing?
It would be very beneficial for you to take some classes. Although some dvd's are excellent you are not getting any feedback. You could 'think' for example that your bridging is looking good, but you could be 'popping' your rib cage, your hips could be out of line, your head position could be wrong. Your Pilates instructor is trained to spot these situations and can give you feedback so that you can feel what is right.
My back really hurts when I try some of the Pilates exercises!
STOP. You should not be feeling any pain. Check with your doctor.
I do not understand neutral spine and when should I use it?
Neutral spine should be explained fully by your Pilates instructor. If you are not able to perform your exercises CORRECTLY then you should imprint your spine until you are ready to progress. You need to be in the best position to support your spine.
My neck is strained when I try to flex up for my hundred and other Pilates positions.
Place you head on the mat until your abdominals are strong enough to hold the position. Make sure that your head and neck are in a neutral position. There should be no strain in your neck or shoulders. You do not need to force a position there are always modifications.
Can I perform Pilates standing up?
The simple answer is YES!
I don't have a Yoga Mat where do I buy one?
You can purchase Yoga mats on the Internet or take a look in your favourite discount stores in the sports section. Quite often the mats are discounted and I have found a few bargains myself over the years!
I am very overweight. Will I look silly?
Personally, if I see someone who is very overweight and they are out there doing something positive for their health it inspires me! I know (like all of you) how difficult it is to stick to something even though we know it is good for us. Make sure that you have had a health check and talk with your Pilates instructor. Maybe you could afford some private lessons to get you started. Excess fat will not disappear unless you are moving and eating correctly. Once you see that you are growing stronger and feel better the incentive will be there to keep going.
Pilates can be done in the privacy of your own home.
I just can't seem to motivate myself. What can I do?
Look, the toughest part of any exercise regime is GETTING THERE. You will be so proud of yourself after you have been to your class. You will feel better and good about yourself which in turn will inspire you to continue. Maybe you need to make the commitment with a friend, therefore you will be letting your friend down if you don't get to the class! If you have to go alone don't worry. You will make friends in no time. Everyone is striving to improve their balance, posture and health. Everyone is at a different point in their journey. This is actually why I love the progressive nature of exercise. I love the small accomplishments and the aha moments!
Buy a good inspirational book that can help you set some goals and achieve good things for the year.
Pilates is for everybody and you can have success too!
Make a commitment to yourself. Reward yourself after a month, tell yourself that you will make time to see that movie or visit that friend for a coffee and a chat! Rewards are a great incentive. If you need some encouragement TELL SOMEONE. I am sure that friends and family will support you and encourage you.