By Julia Hughes
In the years I’ve been practicing Pilates, I’ve found a few things to be consistently true to set myself (and others) up for a successful session.
1.  In the hours leading up to your session, avoid lotion at all costs! I’m only half kidding. Wearing lotion challenges your grip in ways you’d prefer not experimenting during your Pilates session. Case in point: imagine climbing down during Tree Front on the short box (or even the ladder barrel) and getting stuck because your legs are slick and you cannot climb back up your leg.
2.  When your instructor asks how you are feeling, be honest. We all have days when we are not feeling 100%. Perhaps you slept oddly, spent too much time doing yard work, or woke up with a migraine (me!). Personally, when I have a migraine I need a gentler session that avoids extension. Sharing this information with your instructor is helpful as your session can be tailored with this information taken into consideration. Your instructor wants the best for you and to help you get the most out of your session.
3.  Finally, and this is often the hardest, keep your eyes on your own practice! This holds true whether you are in a class setting or a private. In Pilates, there will almost always be someone who is using a building block (a stepping stone to the full expression of the exercise), a modification (adaptations to make an exercise more accessible due to health issues), or an advancement (taking the exercise one more step). As long as you are honoring what YOUR body needs throughout your Pilates practice, then you are doing the exercise the way YOU are meant to do it during that session. Stay in the moment of what you are doing, while you are doing it, and you will absolutely set yourself up for a successful Pilates session. I promise that when you are ready, your instructor will help you take your Pilates practice to the next level!

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