Pilates -- It's more than a workout!
I recently read an article all about occupational Pilates. Never heard of it? Neither had I, but as I read the article the name made perfect sense. The article was specifically talking about a Pilates instructor (Marcia Polas) who was working
with bartenders and teaching them how to stand and move their bodies more efficiently so that they weren’t hurting in their bodies after working all day (or night). It then went on to talk about how she was also working with firefighters and had created a specialty niche of teaching people based on their jobs.
Here’s her definition: "I call myself an Occupational Pilates teacher. What does that made-up title mean? It means I work with clients based on how they use their bodies (“instruments”) to do their job. My areas of specialization include the hospitality industry pros (bartenders/baristas/chefs/FOH), performing artists (actors/dancers/musicians), movement professionals (Pilates and yoga teachers) — I’ll take on anyone with a physically rigorous job."
As a Pilates instructor I can tell you I consider all the Pilates I teach as occupational Pilates! Whether you are a stay at home Mom, a fireman, or sit at a computer all day – the Pilates work is designed to keep your body strong, flexible and balanced so that you can live the rest of your life to it’s fullest, without limitations. I really believe that one of the most important reasons to practice Pilates is so that you can learn to take care of your physical body in a way that improves and inspires the rest of your life!
Often when clients have chronic tightness or pain in their body I start exploring not only how their body moves during their Pilates session but also the types of movements (or sitting) they do throughout their life on a regular basis. By looking at the whole picture of what they do on a regular basis, I can bring awareness to habits that might be contributing to muscle imbalances and strain in their body. We can then relate what we are doing in the Pilates studio to how it can help them in their day to day movements.
If you are looking for more than just a workout from your exercise program I would encourage you to give Pilates a try. Most Pilates devotees will tell you that the mindful movement and exercises they learn in Pilates have had an effect on everything they do in life.