fFrom the small movements of long holds and rhythmic breathing, stepping onto the Pilates mat for the first time can be intimidating. A lot of work involves engaging your muscles—sometimes in almost imperceptible ways. How are you supposed to know if you’re doing it right?
Whether you’re a first-timer or a more experienced Pilates practitioner, Go Chlo Pilates teacher Chloe De Winter is here to take it back to basics.
“Pilates is everywhere right now,” says de Winter. “I’m going to tell you what it really is and introduce you to some of the main Pilates exercises you’ll do in class.”
De Winter explains that Pilates works both the internal stabilizer muscles and the larger, more visible muscles. To do this, you’ll want to pair your breathing with your movement, so you’re engaging the deep inner core muscles that support your lower back and hips, and then you’ll build on that with big movements like leg raises. By squeezing your abs as you exhale—and placing your hands on your stomach to feel that stretch—you’ll begin to understand how to work your core, which is the foundation of most Pilates moves.
A common phrase you’ll hear in Pilates classes is finding a “neutral spine.” De Winter explains that this means you’re resting on your back with enough space in your lower spine and the floor to fit a blueberry between them. As you go through key moves like leg lifts and tabletops, your back will want to arch or flatten. The key to doing this the right way is to not squish the blueberries and let them roll.
In just 10 minutes, you’ll go through these and a few other Pilates basics that will get you ready to hit the mat. Do not forget to breathe!