10 Life Lessons I've Learned From Pilates
1. Details matter - I think in Pilates and in life, sometimes it's the little things that matter. In Pilates, the real deep work comes from properly executing the smallest details of the work. For the work to be effective, the form, breathing and choreography all have to come together perfectly - providing an intense and very safe workout. Without the details, the work gets sloppy, can be dangerous and fails to provide a satisfying result. In my life, I strive to implement this "quality over quantity" principle that I've learned from my Pilates practice. Anything worth doing, is worth doing right!
2. It's not a competition - I once heard an instructor tell a class to "Stay on your mat." She wasn't instructing them to stay physically in their space, but mentally. So often in a class and in our lives we spend more time looking at the person next to us and what they have going on, that we miss an opportunity to focus and work "on OUR mat." Everyone's body is capable of different and wonderful things - sometimes what you are capable of even changes from day to day. Allow your neighbors and friends to inspire your growth in a positive way.
3. Carving out "me" time pays back tenfold - So many of my clients are REALLY busy people; working full-time, parenting, caring for elderly loved ones and serving charitably in our community. Finding some time in the day to break away from the demands placed on them can seem impossible. But when they fiercely protect their scheduled "me" time and come into the studio, I watch them transform over the course of our hour from stressed, tense and overwhelmed to rejuvenated, strong and refocused. Without the time to care for themselves, there is nothing filling them up to give to others.
4. Reconnect to your body, reconnect to your heart - I've heard it said that "Motion creates emotion." I know for me, this couldn't be more true. Exercise not only clears my mind when I have too much going on and I feel like my brain is spinning, but it also stimulates me to problem-solving thought. Exercise of all forms provides me with a mental clarity I get nowhere else, helping me make decisions I've been wrestling with and provoking creative thoughts and ideas I didn't know were in me. And it's WAY cheaper than therapy!!
5. You're never done learning - I've been involved in taking and teaching Pilates for more than 20 years now. Not a week goes by that I don't learn something new - about this work, about how to share it with others or even about my own body. Continuing to learn keeps Pilates fresh for me and allows me to have a job that never feels like work. No matter what types of activities, jobs or hobbies fill your days, continuing to learn about and explore the world around you makes you a richer, more well-rounded person.
6. Honor and listen to your body - Some days I could climb a mountain, some days I get tired climbing up a flight of stairs. Listening to my body's cues and honoring it's capabilities is a MUST for me. Our bodies are "smarter" than we give them credit for. If we treat them well, they will do the same in response. That means giving your body consistent but appropriate exercise, adequate sleep and nutritious food to fuel itself. Strive for a healthy balance in all areas of life.
7. Nothing's sexier than being comfortable in the skin you're in - A person with a self-confident smile and an ease about them is a person I want to be around! No matter the firmness of your rear or the tightness of your triceps, nothing's more attractive than a person who genuinely likes themselves and the people they surround themselves with. Life is WAY TOO SHORT to obsess over looks. It's just exhausting.
8. You're capable of more than you think - Why is it so much easier to see the negative than it is to see the positive when it comes to the way we view ourselves? Abandon your idea of what your personal limitations are, and try something you didn't dream you could do. It's so awesome to truly surprise yourself. I see it time and time again in my clients - I'll give an instruction for an exercise that they've never tried before and see them look at me like I've just lost my senses, only to watch them try and DO IT perfectly! The pride of their unexpected accomplishment is fantastic!
9. Breathe..... - Literally, just BREATHE. Sometimes that's all you need to do.......
10. Follow your passion, the rest will follow. - Life's too short to live uninspired. Some of us are lucky to have found the career that we connect to and feel called to earlier than others. For some, a particular hobby or cause can provide the spark that gives a little extra sparkle to each day. For me, I live each day to see the smile of my husband and our beautiful daughter, and to help my clients achieve their goals - physical and otherwise. Whatever it is that makes you shine, FIND IT and do it. EVERY DAY. :)
AUTHOR: Cara Krupa