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Pilates Can… Help You Touch Your Toes
We’ve made it to November, which means it’s our anniversary month–Happy 24th Retrofit! A time for celebration and reflection. I’m happy to say that this is the year I’ve returned to The Mat. Not that I’ve ever truly been away from the Pilates mat repertoire, since I teach it regularly, but I’m back into a practice that has me attending classes 2 or 3 times a week.
When I first discovered Pilates over 20 years ago, I lived for my Saturday morning mat classes. Over time, the shiny Reformer got a lot more of my love, but my mat classes were the true test of my strength and mobility. Pilates has always been touted as a way to both strengthen AND stretch. Improving flexibility is part of the promise of a regular Pilates practice. Joseph Pilates has a famous quote: “You’re only as young as your spine is flexible.”
In the years when I taught at multiple studios and crisscrossed the city on the TTC several times a day, my personal practice suffered. The first thing I noticed wasn’t a loss of strength, but feeling stiff and tight in parts of my body that had always been limber. A simple twist became a really intense stretch!
Obviously, we all have certain genetic predispositions from the length of our torso and limbs to the circumference of our ribcage to the angle our thigh bones slot into our hip sockets. These inherited traits might mean we are more or less destined to be a prima ballerina or a world class sprinter, but can also make us more prone to hip, knee or back issues (for example) without some kind of awareness or intervention. Because Pilates is a full body system of exercise that focuses on developing a strong, stable core while moving the body in various planes of motion, it’s something that any one of us can go back to again and again to address imbalances, immobility, or strength deficits.
Staying flexible is essential as we age–how else do we put our socks and shoes on? Get in and out of the shower or the car? Have you tried shoulder checking when you can’t turn your head?! While touching your toes may never feel easy for some people, a consistent Pilates practice and commitment to mindful movement will definitely improve overall mobility and get you a little closer to your movement goals.
Getting back on The Mat this year has been a great reminder of all the things my body can still do and has helped me
This month, Retrofit Pilates is focusing on all the ways Pilates can improve your flexibility. Celebrate Retrofit’s 24th Anniversary by getting strong and stretched! Follow us at @retrofitpilates for exercises, tips and information on how Pilates can help you touch your toes and more!
See you in class!
Retrofit Master Instructor
Lead Instructor/Operations Associate