I came to the realization the other week that when I teach and workout are the few moments in my life that I truly live in the present moment. In these moments things might not be so perfect but I find simple comfort, creativity and sometimes joy in the process. The rest of my life I am typically working through my past or daydreaming about my future.
When I teach it is magical to me. My words make the body before me move and perform. I am able to let go and not be quite so serious about life. I tell my clients they are essentially "learning to ride a bike" and each time the work will become gradually less "thinky" and more focused on the deeper details of the movement. The more they do it the better they will become. The breath will flow naturally and their transverse will grow stronger. They will begin to feel and understand how the bike works and where it is they want to travel.
Pilates is a personal journey. It can be familiar yet have its twists and internal struggles. Just when we thought we were mastering the Snake we can loose our confidence and slip. We must get back up and continue. We stay in the pain free zone and accomplish what our body is capable of that day. When in doubt, leave it out. That is why there are so many exercises and variations. No two bodies require the same workout. However, they will feel each exercise where they need it most.
We are all not meant to do the entire advanced series. We may strive to, but actually the basic beginner exercises should always be just as challenging as the fancy "combo moves" of the advanced system. Pilates is more of a practice than a workout system. We are re-teaching the body to move efficiently. Lately, functional training has been the craze and I would argue that Pilates is the most functional movement system for all. Go to any teacher training program and you will probably find an instructor with exquisite posture demonstrating some crazy internal strength to boot. Chances are they aren't in their 30's either.
The method is meant to last a lifetime. Pilates will be there for you when there is no gym. Pilates will be there when you get a funky injury and nothing else seems to work. It is the bike that functions when your car breaks down. It will improve your memory and focus. You will notice a lifestyle change just by taking better care of your joints, improving your balance and increasing your coordination.
You have your daily cup or coffee or mult-vitamin. We brush our teeth, shave and shower. Why not the same with fitness? As Joe wrote, "This is the equivalent of an 'internal shower'". It does the body, mind and spirit good. Live in the moment during your personal practice and carpe diem!