I have a few reasons for having a Pilates practice. Here they are in no order of importance.
In order to be a good teacher, one must be a student.
I like to be physically active.
I’m not into high impact or intense forms of exercise, Pilates is just right.
I have a history of a bad back and tight hips, if I don’t do Pilates my body falls apart.
Practice what you preach.
I want to be better off physically than I am or ever have been.
Any one of those reasons may be what gets me to do my workout on any given day. I do have a bit of a lazy streak and plenty of excuses to avoid exercise and so I have a whole host of tools to keep me moving. A big part of that challenge for me is that I’m not part of a particularly large community of Pilates instructors. I teach in my little studio by myself and although I do have my Pilates buddies we are all busy and can’t always scrap a workout together. So often I’m alone, putting myself through my paces.
I don’t think that I’m alone in that I tend to be more disciplined and work harder when I’m in the company of others. There is a hierarchy to that rule, listed in with least amount of effort expended first and increasing in intensity from there:
1) workout alone with very low motivation (this is generally done out of necessity, just to keep myself together)
2) workout alone with high motivation (this can be fabulous and leave me feeling great, ready to take on the world)
3) workout with a friend (generally this is going to push me to do more than I would alone, even if it’s by a small margin)
4) workout in a group with a teacher (the teacher will inevitably inspire me to push just beyond what I would do alone, but I’ve still got some anonymity to keep me from really going whole hog)
5) workout with a teacher (this is when I really give it my all, will most likely be sore the next day, if not while I’m exercising. These are the workouts that push me to the next level and are therefore essential to my practice).
Which teacher is important and I tend to be fairly particular in who I choose to study with. Generally I work with a person repeatedly, unless geography forbids it. The majority of my current teachers have at least 20 years experience in the method and that is by design. I have a pretty fragile body with a long history of pain and discomfort so I am careful who I entrust with my well being. Teachers with many years of experience tend to be able to give me a good workout and help me to avoid any exacerbation of my conditions. That is very important to me. My geographical location dictates that I have to travel to work with my teachers, therefore I save my resources for those very special and rich experiences.
This is how I’ve built my practice over the past decade-plus. There is always room for improvement and change. There is always room for taking the work to deeper levels. That is why I love Pilates and why I do not foresee a time in my life without a Pilates practice.