Health and Fitness

The Advanced Beginner

Pilates Love


Last year, due to some chiropractic work I was having on my pelvis, it was suggested that I bounce back into Beginner Mat in order to rehabilitate.

If I am being totally honest, the suggestion felt like a regression of progress. By this time I was enjoying the challenging workout found in the Full Mat Repertoire. A debate between instructors followed and eventually, we came to the conclusion that I would go into intermediate and see how things went.

One of the interesting comments that surprised me during this time was how each and every instructor that I spoke to made the comment:

“There is a great work out to be had in Beginner.”

Beginner Mat was amazing and full of a lot of useful information but I was unsure how at the Intermediate – Advanced level, I could find the challenge I was used to.

So I did what every Blogger in search of a story idea would do: I participated in a Beginner Mat Class.

The Advanced Beginner has a unique perspective in the Beginner Class. So much time in the original Beginner Session was spent learning about the fundamentals, learning how to breathe, putting the exercises together and progressively strengthening the body to prepare it for the next level. Though the Advanced Beginner already has this knowledge, their technique over time can start to lose its focus. The instructors often refer to this as “auto pilot.”

We become so familiar with the movements that we forget about their intention. Since the instruction technique evolves as our knowledge and skill set does, some of the earlier training that was ingrained in us gets lost.

Taking a step back into Beginner was a huge refresher for me. Since the focus was on back on isolating certain muscles and executing a modified movement, I was able to get in touch with the some of the muscles that, unknown to me, I have stopped utilizing.

The pace of the class allowed me to get some perspective on where I need to improve. I felt just as challenged as I do in the more advanced level classes, the challenge just came in a different way. By the end of the class, I felt as though some of my techniques had been refined and I left with a reaffirmed perspective of my ultimate goal.

I am into Pilates for life. I have committed to excelling at my practice because I believe it will provide my aging body with a quality of life that no other exercise system can provide. Stepping back into a Beginner Class was an excellent reminder of my commitment and I urge everyone who loves their mat to give it a whirl.



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