Pilates, Yoga, and the Like

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Pilates, Yoga, and the Like

Post by Wondering on Tue Sep 29, 2015 7:47 pm

So, I'm thinking of taking pilates (doing pilates?) which is offered at the place we joined for baby swim lessons. I have never in my adult life done any sort of exercise, group or otherwise, class. And I have no idea what to expect.

The front desk said it's an ongoing program for all levels and to just show up. I have a friend who's instructed pilates in the past and at least told me what to wear (yoga pants, a comfy but not loose shirt) and to find out if I need to bring a mat. I'm a little put-off by the "just show up" nature of it since I'd feel more comfortable if the class had a session with a beginning and ending point and I knew I could show up for the first class and not feel completely out of my depth. But maybe that's not how these sorts of classes work?

I'm also worried I'm just going to completely suck at it, as I have always sucked at any sort of coordination-requiring activity ever except for swimming. Also, my flexibility is not what it was before the baby and I looked up the Pilates 100 thing online and even that looks like something I'd have to work up to. BUT my physical therapist last year recommended it as something I could try to keep working on my core/pelvic floor, and now that I have a chance, I want to give it a go.

Stories, experiences, advice about any pilates, yoga, zoomba, etc. sort of classes? What should I expect?

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Re: Pilates, Yoga, and the Like

Post by reboot on Tue Sep 29, 2015 8:33 pm

I do yoga and have done pilates. It is generally a mix of experience levels in the classes. There is not really a basic, intermediate and advanced progression, just a series of position/exercises. Usually they show a variety of positions and you do wherever you are that day. Some days you can do the more advanced poses/moves, others it just is not going to happen and you stick to beginner level. Good instructors walk the class through how to get in the positions/do the exercises safely, regardless of experience.
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Re: Pilates, Yoga, and the Like

Post by Wondering on Tue Sep 29, 2015 8:36 pm

Walk you through what all the specialized terms mean, too, I assume?

Did you like pilates?

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Re: Pilates, Yoga, and the Like

Post by reboot on Tue Sep 29, 2015 8:45 pm

Yep, and tell you what to do to protect your joints (e.g. line your knee up above your ankle in a runner's lunge). Mostly it is how to get from one position to the other without falling down or hurting yourself Smile

I enjoyed Pilates. It has some similarities to yoga if you do the mat based classes. I would still do it if I had time for more than one class. I need flexibility and balance more than strength, so I went with yoga.
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Re: Pilates, Yoga, and the Like

Post by eselle28 on Tue Sep 29, 2015 9:05 pm

I've taken yoga and bellydancing classes that were on a similar "drop by if you want to join!" basis. I might be more comfortable with a class with a start and end date as well, but I live in a smaller area and pretty much anything like that is going to only have so many participants interested in starting at once.

My classes have been as reboot described, with an instructor who gives modifications and then walks around correcting form and giving specific modifications for participants with disabilities. I once walked into a class that wasn't labeled as such but was obviously full of people doing advanced positions and taught by an instructor used to working with those students, and I just declined to do something requested and found a different class.
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Re: Pilates, Yoga, and the Like

Post by sky on Tue Sep 29, 2015 9:24 pm

I have tried several activities with a "just show up" structure, which I also find to be somewhat stressful and anxious-making because I'll be the only one there who has no idea what they're doing. I've found that for activities I'm really interested in learning or at least discovering if I like them, it's helpful to make a time commitment to myself before the first time I go to class of how long I'll stick with the activity before giving up is an option. For me there is an uncomfortable period that ranges from a few weeks to several months before I've settled in enough to both feel like I know what I'm doing and also to feel close enough to the other group members to call them friends. Once I reach that point, if I still don't like the activity, fair enough, but if most of the dislike is social stress, a lot of it melts away if I just stick with it long enough and push through.
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Re: Pilates, Yoga, and the Like

Post by reboundstudent on Tue Sep 29, 2015 11:31 pm

I found that I reduced a lot of my anxiety by just, well, deciding it was okay to suck. I've done burlesque, belly dancing, yoga, martial arts, swing, salsa, you name it, I've done it drop-in classes, and every single one had people who were far better than me, even if it was a beginning class. Way back in college when I first started doing drop-in's, this made me feel anxious, and worry that people were judging me.... Until I finally decided meh, so what if they are? I know I'm a beginner. If they're going to judge a beginner, they aren't the kind of folks whose opinion I care about. I embraced looking potentially silly and embarrassing myself, and oh boy, was I silly and embarrassing myself sometimes. But oddly, that also gave me a kind of armor, and a good amount of courage and self-respect; being able to laugh at myself and embrace my beginner status gave me a freedom from anxiety, and thus let me fully enjoy learning and new exploration.

(My problem is more continuing to suck/look silly even when I've had enough experience to no longer be a beginner.)

If nothing else, you can also keep your phone close by and pretend that you just got a very anxious text/call in the middle of class when you feel overwhelmed by embarrassment, and dash out. Works for me every time.
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Re: Pilates, Yoga, and the Like

Post by Wondering on Wed Sep 30, 2015 1:28 am

Haha! Thanks, Marty. Smile

Yeah, I think it's a little bit of latent kid-in-gym-class feeling of being judged by people who do better. I'm not so much worried about doing it badly for my own sake but because of others. But I'm guessing I really won't have to interact with other people much in a class like this and thus won't be causing problems for them if I do things wrong like I would be in, say, a martial arts class.

And I can do my best to be in the back of the room, too. Embarassed

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Re: Pilates, Yoga, and the Like

Post by reboot on Wed Sep 30, 2015 1:58 am

In my experience with yoga and Pilates people are too focused on trying to do what they are doing or watching the instructor to figure out what the hell they are doing to notice anyone else. Also, even experienced people can "do worse" (although there really is no worse) than beginners due to their innate flexibility (or lack thereof). For example, as a beginner I was able to do pretty advanced poses in yoga for shoulder stretches. I am oddly flexible there. My balance, hip stretches and hamstring stretches, though better than at the beginning, still are less advanced than most beginner women (about par with men). I have a super tight lower back and hamstrings from jogging.
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Re: Pilates, Yoga, and the Like

Post by eselle28 on Wed Sep 30, 2015 2:30 am

Everything you've mentioned (including zoomba, which I don't do but know people who enjoy) is a practice that doesn't involve partners. In my experience, most people will either give no fucks about where your personal progress is because they're mostly concerned with their own or they'll be friendly or some combination. Also, it depends where you live and where you're inclined to work out, but I don't think you should necessarily assume you're going to be walking into a room full of pilates enthusiasts. This is probably partly because I live in a dorky small town, but I'm probably in the minority of women in both classes mentioned who wasn't referred by a doctor. My yoga class, particularly, has a lot of women who are newer moms (that part's really non-random, since the friends who suggested I join the class fit that description), a handful of little girls (like, they're 11-14) who are apparently getting referred because they have scoliosis, and a group of women who look like they're in their 60s or their 70s. That's not to say your class will look like this, but it's worth at least considering that you're not the only person who will have been told to look into core strengthening by a doctor.

EDIT: I noticed you said this was the place you're going to for baby swimming lessons? If you're at a YMCA or other family type fitness center, I think you might want to assume a diverse, welcoming crowd rather than a bunch of experts! Not always the case, but I'd say more likely than not.
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Re: Pilates, Yoga, and the Like

Post by reboot on Wed Sep 30, 2015 11:50 am

I have done zumba, but not in a formal class. It is a popular fundraising event for LGBTQ and community fitness programs. It was a blast because I love the music and I am completely unselfconscious about my inability to dance at all to anything. YMMV
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Re: Pilates, Yoga, and the Like

Post by reboundstudent on Wed Sep 30, 2015 12:42 pm

OH, if it makes you feel better, there is one class I got super self-conscious in and could never bring myself to go back to, regardless of my beginner status: Hip Hop Dancing. Nope, no more attempts from the painfully white girl. Laughing
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Re: Pilates, Yoga, and the Like

Post by Wondering on Thu Oct 01, 2015 1:17 am

I bought yoga pants. Oh my gosh, are they ever the best pants! They're so comfy. I am happy.

And maybe it's just because these are the first clothes I've bought post baby and they actually fit the new me. It feels so nice to have clothes that fit and look good on me.

Yay, yoga pants! Lovestruck

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Re: Pilates, Yoga, and the Like

Post by reboot on Fri Oct 02, 2015 3:54 pm

Yoga pants are the best reason to do yoga Smile

One thing I forgot to mention is that there are many different types of yoga. Here is a brief rundown of the ones I know. There are more:
Anusara - slower and good for beginners
Ashtanga (sometimes called flow or vinyasa) - fast move through poses. More strength than stretch. Weight loss
Bikram - hot yoga. Stretch and weight loss. Less self guided
Hatha - does stretch, balance and strength. Kind of classic yoga
Restorative - uses props to help with stretches so kind of passive. You hold poses for a long time
Yin - like restorative but no props

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Re: Pilates, Yoga, and the Like

Post by Wondering on Tue Oct 06, 2015 12:16 am

So, I went to pilates tonight.

It was a lot of things I was worried about. Like me being completely lost. Partly because the class started late because the tots ballet class before it (while totally adorable) got out late, so our instructor was flustered. And it fit with most of my past experiences trying to do exercises, as in, I don't get it and think I'm doing it wrong, because when she says, "Do you feel that stretching your glutes?" I'm all, no, I feel that throwing my hip out.

But it wasn't a huge class like I was worried about. It was all women. And pretty much all my age or older. Problem, though, since it was only about 9 people and I'm the newcomer, I felt like a bit of an intruder.

So, I'll go back next week and see how it goes. And hope it gets better.

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Re: Pilates, Yoga, and the Like

Post by OtherRoooToo on Thu Dec 17, 2015 10:15 pm

Wondering wrote:So, I'm thinking of taking pilates (doing pilates?) which is offered at the place we joined for baby swim lessons. I have never in my adult life done any sort of exercise, group or otherwise, class. And I have no idea what to expect.

The front desk said it's an ongoing program for all levels and to just show up. I have a friend who's instructed pilates in the past and at least told me what to wear (yoga pants, a comfy but not loose shirt) and to find out if I need to bring a mat. I'm a little put-off by the "just show up" nature of it since I'd feel more comfortable if the class had a session with a beginning and ending point and I knew I could show up for the first class and not feel completely out of my depth. But maybe that's not how these sorts of classes work?

I'm also worried I'm just going to completely suck at it, as I have always sucked at any sort of coordination-requiring activity ever except for swimming. Also, my flexibility is not what it was before the baby and I looked up the Pilates 100 thing online and even that looks like something I'd have to work up to. BUT my physical therapist last year recommended it as something I could try to keep working on my core/pelvic floor, and now that I have a chance, I want to give it a go.

Stories, experiences, advice about any pilates, yoga, zoomba, etc. sort of classes? What should I expect?


It is absolutely the funnest, and it has changed my life (the Pilates, that is - the yoga actually bent a few things out of shape, but that's a different topic), and I used to think that the former dancer girls who would get on the infomercials and say stuff like that were full of crap ... but once it changes your body (and I'm talking stuff like lung capacity and mobility in addition to stuff like muscle definition), you just don't go back, I don't think.

I should ask (I mean, first of all, I should have apologized, because I'm already so late to this post) - were you / are you doing mat Pilates, or machine Pilates, with the Reformer and stuff? Because they're quite different, and the ideal way / traditional way (yes, I know, LOL) one is supposed to work is to use the machines with the springs to compensate for weaknesses & rebalance / strengthen the body first, and then move on to the mat work, as the mat work tests where your bodily strength actually is.

But a lot of people - instructors for group classes - don't do it like that, sometimes because they haven't been taught, but also because mat classes are much more inexpensive for prospective students.

This is some of the stuff you will be able to do when you've practiced for years



This is actually a routine I'm working on right now for specific weaknesses (though I look much more stupid than this man does, doing it, and can only do about 65% of it on a good day)

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Re: Pilates, Yoga, and the Like

Post by Wondering on Fri Dec 18, 2015 8:16 am

It's mat pilates because it's at the Y. The instructor has her own studio where they do machines, she's said, but at the Y we just have a room, so just the mats.

I've been going a couple months now. It's interesting. I mean, I'm not much good at it, but I keep plugging along. Some days the benefits seem more apparent than others, like when I have sore muscles the next day. Smile

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Re: Pilates, Yoga, and the Like

Post by Archetype694 on Mon Dec 21, 2015 4:02 am

I realize this is not quite what you had asked about but in a very general sense there does seem to be cross over in the demographics of those who do Yoga at least. Hope you don't mind Smile

I see you had mentioned Yoga as an interest besides the Pilaties you are currently doing. I'd also like to suggest Tai Chi. There are a good deal of misconceptions on what it is and is not, so I won't delve to deep into it besides saying it is not religious, it would be more accurate to say it's ideas are drawn from what some would call early eastern "science" and their philosophies.

It's more or less a way of moving that is different then how one is instructed as a child, and could be not incorrectly considered a form moving meditation due to the mindfulness used during practice. (You turn your awareness inward to feel how the muscles and joints interact). The benifits are many and varied and it does not take much of a time investment to gain the health benifits it gives.

It is something can be practiced alone, without equipment at any time. I would not be making an overstatement in that it has changed my life mentally and physically. I've found myself at peace with myself and others. There is truth to the statement that you have to master yourself to improve in skill.

It's great for general health, flexibility, balance, stamina, strength, and is something that can be safely practiced one's whole life, even in advanced elderly age. I'd add calorie burning but I tend to be lazy and not train at the intensity needed to be an effective cardio workout. Headsmack  It's very easy to do that however if you ever cared to.

Also it's a martial art that can be used for self defense, though for the most part it is not taught in such a way. The flowery forms you see people do in the park? In those pretty movements is offense and defense, though for various reasons it is not apparent to an untrained eye. That said, you certinaly do not have to train it as a martial art to reap the benefits and I would strongly encourage anyone to check it out.

I would advise shopping around though and getting word of mouth recommendations, it can be hard for an untrained eye to recognize the legit from non legit and sadly Tai Chi in the states has a large quality control problem. However if you can find someone who is skilled and that you mesh well with, you will likely have a blast.

Sorry for the wall of text I just find it amazingly fun and cool. As a large and very overweight man I always chuckle at the surprise I see when doing form work or friendly sparring, as in they did not think a big guy could move fast and with grace. Grin

Edit: I figured I'd add a link to a study hosted at National Center for Biotechnology Information

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3085832/

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Re: Pilates, Yoga, and the Like

Post by InkAndComb on Tue Dec 22, 2015 8:20 pm

I'm really big into yoga! I originally started at a Hot Yoga studio based on the suggestion of a coworker.

A lot of people are uncomfortable with hot yoga because they have concerns about the temperature; I suggest seeing if a local studio has a 'relaxation" or evening class to dip your toes in the water. Tempereature is warm, humid; helps you be limber but there is also the risk of overextending (not really my concern as I'm not very flexible and don't usually push myself hard enough to injure). Bring water, expect to be sweaty, if you try one of these sessions. Never be afraid to skip a pose or take a break in the form of childs pose.

I highly suggest it as well as pilates. Pilates was more intense for me, but satisfying. May I also say that working your breathing and being in touch with your body and its reactions is satisfying AND rewarding? Finding an instructor that you feel jives with your body and its fitness is nice too.

IME, classes tend to be fullest (if you're doing a set amount of time versus always going class) at first and taper off near the end. I'd take the back spot ,so you can observe the more skilled or experienced fitness persons in front more easily.

In addition, an instructor who gives you a set of movements and takes time to go through the class to correct students is ideal; there are a lot of things that can go wrong when you're bending and twisting, and having someone be able to catch that is amazing.

Also! Don't be afraid to call the instructor over or ask for substitutions; a good instructor will suggest these already but some get caught up in assuming the difficulty level is across the board. If you have tight hips, short legs, etc sometimes you need adjustments. Same for arms, etc.

If you have multiple studios to choose from, usually studios will let you sit in or attend a class for free. I ask the front desk who seems to be the most approachable/favored among beginners, or ask who they think answers questions the best.

On the other hand, before I went I was nervous, so I looked up videos; Sara Ivanhoe's Candlelit Crunch yoga (I think it's on youtube) is my favorite "gentle" video to guide you through breathing and poses becauseI was able to determine what areas I might need help on (hips, twists, balance). Her work is good, in my opinion, and I like any videos that show you the other persons participating (good variety in adjustments).
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Re: Pilates, Yoga, and the Like

Post by Archetype694 on Thu Dec 24, 2015 2:33 am

I'd like to ask the advice of those here since everyone here seems to be knowledgeable.

What would be a good choice of Yoga and/or Pilates for total newb that one could learn the basics from Youtube?

I work odd hours so classes would be difficult to attend, aside from the nervousness of working with a room full of new people.
I'm mainly interested in getting better at matching my movements to my breathing, and developing / refining my sense of Proprioception / interoception.

Anything that would assist in the above or help with tightness of the lower back, hamstrings, calf muscles, and plantar fascia would be of great use.

Thanks!

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