Is Pilates too easy when you do it at home? Maybe that’s not Pilates. Maybe it’s about the effort you’re putting into it!
Often times when I correct a client on a particular exercise (at home or in the studio) they will respond afterwards with a, “Ooooh, so I was cheating?” I don’t really love the word cheating when it comes to movement. It’s such a negative word.
I really believe that wherever you are in your body, you are trying to do the best you can at any given moment. It’s absurd to think that you could or would do something perfectly right away, or even after lots of practice. Many times it takes a combination of understanding the exercise’s choreography, knowing the goals of the exercise, maybe seeing what the exercise should look like, and lots of practice before you figure out how to do it. And how it should feel in your body. Even then, there is always a better version you can do.
All that being said, the answer is, YES, you were cheating. We don’t do it on purpose, but if there is an easier way to do something of course that’s what we naturally do first. If there’s a version that doesn’t require as much concentration, control, or work that’s what we do. That’s human nature.
The beautiful thing about your Pilates practice is that once you figure something out, once you know what you are trying to do and once your body has figured out how to do it, you’ll know if you are cheating yourself!! Once you have that “aha” moment, where something clicks and you practice it, it becomes part of how you move. It makes it really hard to go back to the place where you were “cheating”.
For anyone who has practiced Pilates you probably already know about these “aha moments” in your body. Usually these moments are accompanied by some conversations with yourself, or your instructor, that go like this. “Why is this exercise harder than when I used to do it? I really am trying my best, but it seems to just keeping getting more difficult! Shouldn’t it be getting easier?”
The quick answer is a resounding no! When you learn how to “fix your cheating”, you learn to work deeper. With more control and more precision, and it always seems like more effort. Even though for those watching you….it looks easy, controlled, and graceful!!
So don’t feel bad about “cheating” in your Pilates practice! When your instructor helps you figure out how to do an exercise better, be excited! It is all part of the learning process. Every time your instructor catches you cheating is another opportunity for you to practice at a deeper level.