Sometimes I feel that the world of social media adds more pressure on us to look a certain way. I do find that the Pilates community, especially on Instagram, can be incredibly encouraging and supportive. On many occasions I have had positive comments from well-known Pilates instructors that I do not know, and I too have liked and commented on posts that I find engaging and helpful. In general, I believe that most Pilates instructors are trying to uplift and motivate others (both clients and instructors). However, I still sometimes feel that there is a lot of competition for posting the most elaborate, innovative Pilates sequence that may be intended to be aspirational but in actual fact is bordering on something that the majority of Pilates clients will never be able to do.
Even in my Pilates practice, after so many years of doing Pilates sessions 5 times a week, there are exercises that I cannot do completely. There are areas that I am still working on in my own practice and there are some exercises that my body will never be able to do according to the textbook. Social media tends to overlook this important fact and we forget to mention that EVERY BODY is different. That a Pilates exercise (or a yoga pose or strength training exercise for that matter too) may not be suitable for your body. We may see something that we wish we could do and may endeavour to try, but inevitably fall short. Not every exercise or movement practice is made for everyone. There should always be modifications, adjustments and alternatives available for a client, no matter what their level, that will suit their own needs.
So the next time that you see an instructor on Instagram doing an exercise or a sequence and you aspire to do it too, be kind to yourself. Remember, that being innovative and exciting on social media helps with creating more likes, but it may not help you in your Pilates practice. If you want to give it a go and work on a specific exercise or sequence that you can’t do now but would like to be able to do, then that is fantastic. Make sure you have good support from an instructor to ensure that you are engaging and activating the right areas of your body so that you can work safely. In most cases, working with correct alignment and breath patterns will actually make the exercise easier to complete as well.
Finally – if I ever post anything on Instagram that you like the look of, would like to be able to do but can’t yet – reach out to me and ask for some tips on how to achieve your result. Maybe there is an adjustment or modification that you need to make that can help you in your movement. I would rather you reached out than get frustrated with something that wasn’t working for you and you then felt that the exercise guides that I provided were out of your reach.