Why Pilates instructors are more like Narwhals than Unicorns
Ah yes, the magical unicorn stands as a fabulous yet distant symbol of our modern obsession with a magic pill that will “fix” you. The lore around unicorns stretches way back to the ancient Greeks. Nowadays we see it everywhere with double rainbows coming out of its eyeballs. If you find your magical unicorn and possess the mystical candy canes, its special healing powers will heal its rider.
We all want our unicorn to fix our aches and pains. But the problem is, where do you find a unicorn?
My suggestion is to instead, look for a narwhal. Unlike unicorns (and Santa, sorry kids), narwhals really do exist — in the Arctic waters around Greenland, Canada, and Russia to be exact. Narwhals aren’t lacking in legend or lore, and have been called the unicorns of the sea. Narwhals are symbols of imagination, deeper awareness, freedom, discovery, and beauty.
I believe great Pilates teachers share some of these characteristics with the sea-unicorn and the best part is they may be working in a Pilates studio in your very own city.
A good Pilates teacher can offer the promise of a better life. A better life without pain, tension, and with all the good stuff you want to do like sit, stand, pick up your child, run, golf, dance. Whatever it is you want to do, no matter the point you are on your life path, Pilates sees where you are and can take you where you want to be.
Good Pilates instruction has the power to change you. I have seen its “magic” with my very own eyes time and again. Your Pilates teacher can offer you the opportunity to flee an unpleasant reality and escape to a better you. What better freedom is there than that?!
Through physical discovery Pilates teaches awareness. Awareness of your body, how to move with ease, how to better engage muscles, how to move with fluidity, grace, and control.
Pilates teaches persistence–the never giving up attitude and working hard towards a goal. If you believe what you are taught by the media and those around you, you need to look for a pill or surgery to “fix” all manner of issue, injury, and illness. Of course Pilates can’t fix everything but it is a good starting point. Then if you need surgery or medicine, Pilates will strengthen your every system in the body , quicken recovery, and get you back to living life.
Pilates is a journey. It’s not a magic pill. But Pilates can be magical and it has the power to change. Will a glitter lightning bolt come from the horn of your Pilates narwhal and “fix” you. No. But over time and with the guidance of your instructor’s watchful, skilled eye I bet you will see benefits — improved flexibility, increased muscle strength and tone, balanced strength on all sides of the body, enhanced muscular control, improved stabilization of the spine, better posture, injury rehab & prevention, improved physical coordination and balance, relaxation of tight shoulders/neck/back, increased lung capacity, better circulation, improved concentration, increased body awareness, stress management and relaxation…I could go on but you get the idea!
It comes down to knowing that the path to physical fitness and health is a series of steps on a path that has no end point for as long as you’re alive. Your Pilates instructor will be there to celebrate the milestones on the way to your goal, celebrating your first milestone, and the next and the next. These milestones come in every form from, “Oh my goodness you were able to wear high heels without pain,” to “How wonderful that you can pick up your grandchild,” or “How amazing you were able to play t-ball with your son, and win the game!”
Pilates isn’t going to be your unicorn but maybe it can be your narwhal. And, if you stick with it, you too can be a narwhal with a magnificent horn.