Pilates can be as much an emotional experience as a physical one. The most common fear I have encountered amongst my Pilates clients is the fear of falling. Imagine you are taking a group class or a private lesson and the instructor cues you to stand on the reformer and move or hold a bar while leaning back in space. This could rattle the bravest and most physically confident of any of us.
This fear is an anxious feeling one gets from the possibility of falling and hurting oneself. My client Emily colorfully explains her fear as, “Anything that involves the potential of my face hitting equipment or the floor is a fear of mine. This usually involves moves where I feel I am not strong enough in my core or arms to keep myself upright.” When Emily first began training with me over a year ago, her fears were intuitive and warranted. Her core was much weaker and disconnected when we began training together, and her arms had been injured and needed physical therapy to heal. Today, however, Emily has done the work! She is ready for new challenges and conquering her fear of falling is one of them. In fact, it is through consistency, patience, and discovering how to trust the work and her body that she will continue to work through her fears and persevere in her Pilates practice.
There are many Pilates exercises that challenge one’s sense of feeling safe and secure but that does not mean you should avoid these movements. I asked Emily what has helped her the most to conquer her Pilates fears? She said, “When we discuss in detail what I need to do with my body, it helps me mentally prepare for the move. The tiny adjustments we make to shift my focus or weight and the experience I go through realizing that it is possible.” Her response inspires me to continue cheering Emily on through her most challenging Pilates exercises. All successes deserve celebration, especially those moments when your body shows up efficiently and proves to your mind what is now capable.
I find the best strategy for conquering your Pilates Fears is patience with yourself and your body while working through modified exercises to build up to the more advance choreography. Check back in the future for Pilatesgrl blogs on other common Pilates challenges, such as fear of inversions and seniors’ fears of falling.
It is important to know that there are inherent risks of injury with any exercise program without proper guidance and supervision. Please consult with your physician before attempting any exercise routines offered by Intuitive Motion Pilates.
Client names are changed to protect their privacy.