Three Common Misconceptions About Pilates by Emily Lamb

A new physical routine in our lives can often be daunting, especially when it requires us to step out of our comfort zone.  Pilates is no exception. I understand there are so many different styles around and many varying opinions.

What intrigued me about Pilates when I first started was how it could be designed specifically for what my body needed.  It was functional movement – what I learnt in Pilates, I could apply to daily life.

I hope as you read this blog any doubts and uncertainties will be put to rest as you see that Pilates can journey with you through many seasons of life.  It is not something to aspire to once you have reached a certain physical goal.

Below are three common misconceptions along with some language and encouragement to help move past them.

1. I am not fit enough

I find it helps to slow down and look up the meaning of a word I am dwelling on.

Often we know the context in which to use a word but when we are asked what it actually means we can be challenged (I’ve learnt this a lot through my kids!). If I am honest the below definitions were not how I would have explained “Fit”.

Here are two meanings of the word Fit;

  1. of a suitable quality, standard, or type to meet the required purpose
  2. having the requisite qualities or skills to undertake something competently

To me, this describes Pilates beautifully. Pilates will equip you to meet a required purpose.

It will give you the qualities and skills to undertake something competently.

When done well, it will give you tools and abilities to move (literally!) through your life.

Ask yourself this question…What do I want Pilates to help me undertake? Improving a hobby, sitting at a desk, picking up children, playing sports, games with your kids, cross-training?

In my opinion, not only is the misconception “I am not fit enough” wrong, the goal – “I want to be fit” is too vague.

Start thinking further than that. What do I want to undertake competently? How can Pilates help me thrive and assist in the lifestyle I want to live?

If we go by the above definitions, ‘not fit enough’ just means you need to gain some more skills and qualities. Just like you would study or do training to build these in other areas, jump into a quality BASI Pilates class and start building your definition of … Fit.

2. I am too old

 “You are only as young as your spine is flexible” – Joseph Pilates

Now the reality is, I am not here yet … well my kids may think differently … but if we go by numbers and life experience I will humbly acknowledge I am still a youngster with a lot to learn.

I also acknowledge that this is a broader topic. There are many conditions that develop later in life and these need to be addressed with care and professional knowledge.

But I do want to break the misconception that Pilates is only for young ’uns who can perform picture-worthy positions. Whether your perspective has been created by social media and advertising or an experience, I encourage you to not let that taint your overall opinion of the method.

I love that the above quote takes away the numbers. To me, it is an encouragement. It is an invitation. When our bodies are mobile and stable we can maintain dignity and move with confidence through the daily realities of life.

BASI Pilates founder, Rael Isacowitz presents a 2-day workshop called the “Power of Ageing”. What an awesome way to describe it!

As a BASI Pilates Instructor, I have taught clients that are well into their 80’s and with many and varying conditions. It is a joy to watch them move. I admire my “older” clients. They show me what it is like to have a healthy place for exercise in life. It should be valued, it should be respected in a weekly routine and it has a deep purpose but it is not idolised.

You are never too old to enjoy the benefits of functional movement.

3. I am not flexible

For many, when we picture flexibility, we see someone sliding into a perfect split or bending in half without a single twitch appearing on their face but again let’s delve a little deeper than that.

When we look at the word ‘flexible’ in other settings it is used to describe someone who has the ability to change or adapt. So if we apply those meanings to Pilates I think it can help create a different perspective. And rather than the mindset being – “Am I flexible enough?”

Maybe it should be … How can Pilates help my body adapt to my life’s changes? Changes in lifestyles and seasons, changes in movement, simple changes – from sitting down to standing up.

Pilates mobilises our joints and lengthens our muscles.

This is the beautiful freedom that comes with mobility. Mobility means to move freely and easily … yes, please!

So if you are hesitating and assuming Pilates is not for you because you can’t do the splits, please push that aside and give it a go. You wouldn’t need us if your body were already perfect.

And if you are flexible, enjoy the benefit of balancing that out with strength and stability while maintaining that precious mobility.

 If you are thinking of studying to become a BASI Pilates instructor but one or all of the above doubts are circling in your mind, can I encourage you to talk to us? Rather than just assume, talk through your questions and concerns. The chances are we’ll put them all to rest.

As we know, rewarding and good things can take time and it is the journey that grows us. Without the journey, the destination is taken for granted and it holds little value. Pilates should not consume our life nor should it be ignored. It is something that can be interwoven throughout life and its seasons. It is a mind/body workout that can produce dignity, physical freedom and refreshment.

Don’t think you have to be at a certain stage to start Pilates. When done well, Pilates meets you where you are and you have the joy of watching the changes take place.

Move well,


Interested in studying to become a BASI Pilates instructor in 2022?

BASI Pilates Australia has Mat and Comprehensive Global teacher training programs at host studios across Australia in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra and Cairns. Contact BASI Pilates Australia to discuss your Pilates education journey today!