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24th Jul 2021

Jen Wilson

You don’t need to be fit or flexible to do Pilates or Yoga 

I hear it alot, ‘I’m not fit enough to join class’, ‘I’m not flexible enough to do Yoga’.

Looking at so many of the posts shared out there in social media you would believe that you have to be a slim, bendy, contortionist to take part in class.

For so many of us in the industry, we are frustrated by these images, there is a movement trying to make a change in this narrative to help people find the right teachers and classes that will allow you to feel included.

What 2020/21 taught us was there are great benefits to classes being online – you don’t need to have your camera on, you are on mute so no one can hear you huffing, puffing, groaning, farting or swearing (this is the feedback of gratitude directly from my clients) and you can put whatever music you want on in the background if you want.

Something I have been very conscious of for a long time is that not everybody can make every shape. Height, weight, limb length in ratio to the torso, upper limb bones in ratio to lower limb bones, neck length, history of injuries/surgeries/illness, history of movement, history of posture, joint ranges, bone shape, pelvis shape, will all have an impact on how you move.

I can get into some shapes and exercises with relative ease, because I am long-limbed and hypermobile. I also can’t get into some shape, and can’t do certain exercises because I am long-limbed and hypermobile.

In many cases, no matter how much effort you put in, you just can’t. AND THAT’S OK!

Over the last decade I have had clients who have come to class who can’t kneel because of knee replacements, who struggle to engage abdominal muscles due to surgeries, who have had hip replacements, frozen shoulders, who have spinal issues and getting down onto the floor just isn’t something that they are wanting to do (so they do their class sitting or standing) or are larger and because of their bellies need to have exercises adapted.

I am always thinking ‘how can I make this work so this person in front of me can take part?’’What alternative can they do instead?’.

I love these challenges. It makes me a better teacher. It makes clients feel welcome and included (and they even tell their friends about the experience and bring their friends along too).

During class I am ALWAYS banging on about listening to your own body, responding to what it’s telling you today – not comparing yourself to what you have done in the past, where you are right here, right now. And throughout class I am reminding everyone to take as many rests as they need (that comes back to listening to your body).

Some days you will be on top of the world and do a bit extra or give one of the more challenging exercise variations a go, other days you will be done in and just moving your body around a bit is all you do. Some days you will think you are on top of the world and start class and realise you are pretty fatigued. Some days you will think you are pretty beat but when you start moving around you re-energise.

I want you to leave class feeling better than you did when you got there. I want to bring a sense of calm energy into your life.

Be kind, be curious

Jen x


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