Going through the motions doesn’t please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you. Psalm 51:16 (MSG)
In any Pilates class I teach, there is usually a person or two that gets disheartened that he/she cannot do all the moves properly. Sometimes I get blamed for this. “How come I can do a sit up in my other fitness class, but I can’t even get off the mat in here!?” Often I will show several different options for a particular exercise so that those newer to Pilates and the form, breathing, and alignment required, will be able to get “work” in the muscles. However, most of the time people will look around, see someone else doing the “hard” version and think something like, “I don’t want to look like a sissy.” OR “In order for me to get benefits, I have to do the most difficult version of this move.”
Listen. Here is the TRUTH. Yes, it is good to push yourself to do more than the bare minimum, but that is not what this is about. No exercise is worth doing if we don’t have the correct FORM. Furthermore, if we are not using the proper form, the correct alignment, we are not recruiting the intended muscles which means they aren’t the ones working AND we put ourselves at risk for injury.
All Pilates movements whether ‘beginner’ or ‘advanced’ require proper form and they all work the ‘powerhouse’ or core of the body. The workout will be more effective if you are in proper form doing the modified movements than if you do the advanced movement misaligned with incorrect form.
I know. This is hard. We all want to do MORE, show that we can handle the HARD work..we don’t want to be wimps or be too needy, or…dare I say it…FAIL.
BUT…Pilates performance isn’t about doing the most advanced movement. It’s about being aware of your body, aligning it, and maintaining proper form through engagement of the core muscles. Whether this happens with your head lifted or resting, your legs straight or knees bent, it doesn’t matter. So when you are thinking about how well you are doing in your Pilates class, remember it’s your FORM that tells the story…it’s what is happening on the inside of your body that’s important…not the outside.
The same thing is true with the working out of our faith. I know that I am sometimes tempted to look at what others or doing and think that I must not be strong enough in my faith because I am not doing all of those ‘hard’ things. Do I give enough? Do I help others enough? But God is not interested in my performance…He is interested in my form. If I stretch beyond my capacity or do something because I am trying to imitate someone else, I am missing the point. This type of misalignment causes pain because I am not centered in God’s will. It also results in ineffective ‘work’. I can’t strengthen my faith if I am moving outside of God’s will. FORM, not performance, is what pleases God.
He’s not impressed with horsepower; the size of our muscles means little to him.
Those who fear God get God’s attention; they can depend on his strength. Psalm 147: 10-11 (MSG)