Is Pilates for men? I am a young male, yoga instructor who loves to find new ways to move in his body. I enjoy being challenged mentally, physically and emotionally, whether it be through a vigorous vinyasa yoga class, trekking through rocks and cliffs on my mountain bike, or climbing on the side of a steep rock wall. These are a few ways I typically like to challenge myself and get my adrenaline pumping, and blood flowing.
Recently I have been working on behalf of Amber from Epicself, who is a yoga and Pilates instructor. So as you could imagine Amber has been sharing her love of Pilates with me and my fellow, fellow. Oh yea I guess I should tell you I am participating in Amber's Epic Living Fellowship Program and me and another fellow have the joy, (and torture) of working with Amber and her vast knowledge of yoga/Pilates. So you might be thinking, wait this is a guy speaking and he is practicing Pilates, isn't that for the ladies?
Well yes I am a male and YES I have been practicing PILATES, and I am proud to say it! I would have never imagined the power it takes to flow through some of the most basic Pilates movements. The amount of focus, and strength it takes to stay up on your foam roller and engage your core properly is incredible. Prior to my fellowship program with Amber I had never heard or seen any males practicing Pilates. I always had it in my mind that, "oh Pilates is just for women, I need a real work out." Or, "Pilates is just a mild version of yoga movements put together, I don't want to waste my time doing that." I had all these thoughts and stigmas about Pilates and I had never even tried it. I'll be honest I never thought I would be practicing Pilates. After all, it is something you normally see on the cover of a women's health magazine while your in line at the grocery store.
But I have to say, being a man who loves to move, and loves to learn new ways to be challenged in my body; Pilates has surprised me tremendously! I would have never thought that I would NOT be physically able to perform the movements in Pilates. And I'm not even talking about flexibility, I am talking about deep raw core strength.
During my first few classes I was learning so much about the subtle adjustments in the positioning of the body that really ignites the deep core muscles in our body. Now not to toot my own horn or anything, but I have a pretty strong yoga practice, I can do all the fancy handstand floats and tricks but I found myself struggling to even stay stable on a foam roller. It was because I was using muscles in my body I didn't even know existed.
So occasionally (more like quite often haha) I would crash off the foam roller and have to get back up and strategically place my back, neck and head the way I was instructed. This was all to assure my skeletal structure was in correct alignment and that I was firing up the targeted muscles Amber was going for. After a few deep breathes of being in the correct position, my core started screaming like it never had before in any handstand or yoga pose!
I am still trying to recover from yesterdays "gentle" flow! I have to admit, Pilates has been kicking my butt, and I am actually enjoying it! Over the past two weeks I have connected to muscles in my body I was never even aware of. I have released tension all up and down my spine helping me to sleep better at night and wake up feeling open and limber.
I have discovered so much about my body and its strengths and weaknesses through Pilates. Pilates has done miracles for me. I hope to see more males practicing this fine tuned movement art, so that they can receive the miracles of Pilates. Don't be shy guys, its not just for the ladies give it a try and try not to cry!