The Awkwardness of Beginnings
If you’ve ever put off starting Pilates or any new movement practice because of fear of looking silly, I hear you. The awkwardness of starting something new can be really uncomfortable.
Last year I thought about starting this blog to share information about Pilates. If you happen to notice the dates of my first two posts, you can see that words were not flowing freely. For me, writing a blog is awkward. Similarly, a friend asked my husband to play golf. Not being a golfer, his first experience was less than ideal because he wanted to be as good as his friend. If I stopped writing and my husband never played golf again, neither of us would improve, and who knows how much we would miss out on.
Ironically, while I was at the coffee shop struggling to find words for this blog post, he struggled to find his swing on the golf course. After discussing our mornings, we realized that once we gave up on our need to appear more skilled than we actually are, we enjoyed the process more. He gave up trying to look good, and I gave up trying to sound witty and poetic. We just did the thing. He swung the club, and I typed.
We all have to walk through the awkward stage of being a beginner to learn anything new. The first time I tried Pilates on the equipment, I felt discombobulated, and the first time I taught Pilates was, well, painful. As I mentioned earlier, I’m someone who struggles to find the rights words.
The key is to try and enjoy the novelty of the new experience more than the fear of looking silly. Ask questions, have an open mind, and by all means, don’t compare yourself to others.
So schedule your first session, and here’s a little scoop of what to expect, so the experience isn’t completely foreign.
How to prepare for your first Pilates session:
Arrive a few minutes early to fill out the necessary paperwork and change clothes if you are coming after work. If you are taking classes via Zoom, logging in a few minutes before the session will allow time to chat with the instructor about any pertinent past injuries or goals.
Wear comfortable fitted clothing with smooth seems on your back as some exercises are done lying on the back.
If you have long hair, you’ll want to put it in a ponytail or up so it doesn’t get in your face or tangled in the straps and springs of the equipment.
If you choose to wear socks, grip socks will feel more secure than non-grip socks.
Pilates is a method with layers. Exercises can be modified for different levels and abilities. Your first class will not include the advanced, scary-looking moves you may have seen on some Instagram feeds. You do not need any prior knowledge of Pilates to start.
You don’t want to show up hungry, but you may want to eat something light if you eat before your session. A heavy meal before Pilates may not be comfortable.
Remember to enjoy the process. As one of my favorite Pilates teachers, Lesley Logan, says, “we do not do Pilates to get better at Pilates. We do Pilates so we can do life better.”