The Language of Pilates Week Three: I Can’t

Dearest Pilates clients, this one is for you. I both love and hate when Pilates clients say, I can’t. More often than not prove that they can do whatever they just said they couldn’t do. If you are not ready to try something, it is ok to not try. You can express this by saying you are not ready to try that. Or you don’t want to do it that day. There are plenty of times I have declined a request from a teacher when I’ve been in the student role. You know your body best and you have to make the right choice for yourself. However, saying I can’t does not help. Negative language, especially when aimed at yourself and your abilities, tricks your brain into believing that is true.

Most of the time, people say I can’t and then they do the thing. I suggest, communicating whether or not you are willing to try something. Even better communicate the challenge you feel the exercise is presenting to you. Sometimes you do need more practice or a different approach. Putting the challenge into words can help you and your teacher solve the challenge together.

If you are challenged by the Teaser and you are willing to try it, do one rep paying attention to how your body responds to it. Then find some positive words to explain the experience to your teacher. Sharing how you are challenged can help you work together with your teacher to find a new approach to the exercise so you feel more successful with it.

We teachers want you to say I can and I did. We want you to try new things when you are ready but we don’t want to push you past your limit. We are so honored when you share what is going on with the exercise so we can help, rather than have you suffer through it. If it doesn’t happen that’s ok too! In that instance, “I’ll get it when it’s time,” is appropriate. Pilates is hard and as a teacher I always appreciate what my clients bring to their practice. But please be kind to yourself. You are worth it.


Photography by Jennifer Gouge