Patience and Persistence

Big changes happen!

Pilates creates change!


The idea that Pilates changes lives is becoming more and more clear to me every day!  I used to hear people use phrases like: “the struggle is real” and “the journey” & “physical and mental conditioning” (Andrea Maida, Lesley Logan and Philip Friedman respectively) and whilst I never actually disagreed, I never completely bought into the idea either.  However, I realise I was wrong and it was my own clients that have taught me this lesson!  I learned this massively important lesson through reading clients’ stories on or “Client Wins” page: click here.  What Joe Pilates was talking about wasn’t just the exercises and the benefits, but a way of changing how your look, feel and appear to others!


“What is Pilates?” is perhaps the page most commonly found on studio and teacher websites.  But you won’t find one here.  That’s because other than a description (which certainly has it’s value), Pilates is so much more than a collection of exercises, it’s a system designed to create change in people’s lives.  The evidence is right in front of us: how Joseph Pilates himself led his own life.


Joseph Pilates changed his life


Joseph Pilates was a sickly child: he was bullied at school because of his name and he suffered from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever.  He decided to make changes by challenging himself physically and mentally even as a child.  In time, he was able to earn a living as a professional boxer, a circus-performer, and a self-defense trainer at police schools and Scotland Yard!  These are monumental changes.  Joseph Pilates realised that if he could, other people would be able to effect radical personal change – if they were willing to commit to it.


“Everyone is the architect of their own happiness.”  – J. Pilates


You can’t “do” Pilates – it’s a practice


However, Pilates is so undervalued, and often sadly, so poorly taught by underprepared teachers.  And this is why Pilates isn’t associated with life changes!  This is not the teachers’ fault, the fault lies in a teacher training system that focuses on “qualifications” (for international readers: I’m talking specifically about the UK here).  A qualification is a destination, and a worthy one, but if arriving at that destination is your only objective, arguably you’re completely missing the point of Pilates – it’s creating change.  Before getting the qualification to teach, learn the discipline.  Imagine a person wanting to learn teach French, but hasn’t yet learned the language!


“Change happens through movement and movement heals.”  – J. Pilates


Instead of a qualification on a piece of paper, Pilates is something you have to feel in your body, it’s about physically growing and learning, challenging yourself, it’s about consistency and perseverance.  It’s not something that you do, it’s a discipline that you practice.    “Discipline” – that’s a very untrendy word in these days of instant gratification!  Learning that level of personal discipline, and learning to remove the things that stand in your way is how big changes are created mentally as well as physically.


Learn this discipline to change your life! 


As that practice becomes an integral part of your daily life then big changes happen.  And that’s what Joseph Pilates intended.  If you read his book “Return to Life through Contrology” and you’ll be reading not only a first self- help book of the modern era (published in 1945!), but a book that encourages you to change your life through movement!


“Patience and persistence are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor.”  – J. Pilates


Stooped over computers all day, our musculature changes to accommodate that position.  We become slouched.  Our breathing becomes shallow due to compressed and sunken chests.  Pilates corrects that slouch.  And where the body goes, the mind will follow.  And this demands discipline and a desire to change, that’s what my clients have taught me.  Thank you 🙂



  • Brad Crowell
    Posted at 20:47h, 22 June Reply

    Miguel, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Totally agree that Pilates is more than just the physical practice. I think that concept is more easily accepted when discussing Yoga – in that the physical practice can be so challenging that it forces you to appreciate your body in a way you may not have before. With that mental appreciation you get excited about your strengths, but you suddenly realize your current physical limitations. And, if you want to break though those limitations it forces you to focus, be persistent and consistent and generally grow. The principles you apply there to reach that short term goal end up directly affecting your life in such a positive way, and so much more than just physically!

    Keep on keeping on,


    • Miguel Bengoa
      Posted at 09:24h, 24 June Reply

      Hi Brad, great to read your comment – I’m glad that the post resonated with you!

      I agree that the concept of self-improvement is more easily accepted in the world of Yoga. And I think that partly explains the massive popularity of Yoga in the UK.

      In contrast, Pilates in the UK “has been hijacked by the fitness industry” (not my words: it is a generalisation, but there’s some truth there) and has been reduced to a purely somatic discipline (related to the body, as opposed to the mind). That, as I say in my post is missing the point and missing the awesomeness of Pilates. Reducing Pilates to its essence, I like to think of it as a daily workout you can learn to do.

      It will take time and effort to learn, but you’ll have a workout that you can do everyday in just thirty minutes for the rest of your life! It will keep your body balanced with both strength and flexibility, you’ll learn to control your breathing and your mind as you bend it to the task in hand. With Pilates you’ll still grow older, but you’ll be both strong and flexible: you’ll look better. movebetter and feel better. What’s not to love!

      Stay aware and keep up the good work,

      Miguel 🙂

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