1. Why did you start taking Pilates, and how long have you been practicing?
To be honest, my wife dragged me along. She persuaded me that it would be different than hot yoga. I tried to have an open mind but didn’t really think I would enjoy it. . . It’s now been just over a year.
2. What do you like about Pilates?
I like the simplicity. The magic circle and other equipment are fine, but the essence is just using your body. For me, the philosophy seems aligned with approaches such as Alice Waters’ to cooking, Apple’s to design, in the emphasis upon deeply appreciating the function of a thing. As a high school teacher, I have tried to simplify my curriculum so that students focus on the essential parts of the subject and I try to organize my classes so that students can focus on doing one thing very well during each moment. Pilates feels like that to me.
I also like thinking about the activities and how each activity is using a different part of the body. When I started, you pointed out how I sometimes adjusted my body to achieve the stated goal of the exercise (i.e. bring yourself to seated using an upper curl) without engaging the correct part of the body. Now that I am more familiar with many of the exercises, I like the mental exercise of doing the exercise “correctly.”
Oh, it also has a great physical benefit. . .
3. Do you do other sports?
When not injured, I play soccer. And force myself to jog. In both, I noticed how much healthier and stronger I felt after taking Pilates last winter.
I had a realization soon after I started Pilates: as a soccer player, and a defender at that, I had never really paid attention to my own body becuase I was always responding to other people and the ball. I found it really interesting to actually pay attention to my body and focusing on the actual movement and muscles.
4. Does practicing Pilates have any affect on your other activities?
If I’m in a less than engaging meeting, I find myself working on my posture and knitting the ribs. I have noticed that my back has hurt much less since starting Pilates because I think I pay much more attention to my body.
5. Any advice that you would offer a man wondering if they should start taking mat Pilates classes?
“Knit the ribs.” :)