Pilates has reached an all-time high, thanks to the wonders of social media. A search for the term 'pilates' yields hundreds of content, all usually united by one theme: being a pink pilates princess. But what is a so-called pink pilates princess, and what implications does this new trend put forth?
What Is Pilates Anyway?
In order to understand the trend, we must first understand Pilates itself. Pilates is described as a series of controlled movements which functions as a low impact workout. It focuses on improving balance, coordination, and flexibility. The movements are also combined with controlled deep breathing to improve core strength.
The creator of Pilates is Joseph Pilates from Germany. He created the exercise in the early 20th century during World War 1, while he was in an internment camp. He then later introduced his exercise to the market shortly after being released.
Today, Pilates is practiced by thousands of people around the world. Some attend classes at Pilates institutes, or follow virtual routines from home. There are two popular types of Pilates: reformer and mat pilates.
Reformer Pilates utilizes reformer machines, which function to move based on your exercise, and provide resistance to improve form.
Mat Pilates focuses on stable movements, performed on a yoga mat. Weights can be used during these classes, but they are not required.
What Is A Pink Pilates Princess?
Now for the phenomenon itself, the way in which Pilates has manifested itself in the daily sphere: the Pink Pilates Princess.
I love good alliteration, and this trend is in no way an exception. A Pink Pilates Princess is a pilates practicer who traditionally wears all pink! Perfect for all of our pink lovers, it motivates people to work out.
Urban Dictionary defines a Pink Pilates Princess as "pink smoothies, reading in bed, workouts in pretty pink sets, 10 step skincare routines, jewelery while she works out, the ultimate girly green juice girl."
Here is a short guide to the appearance of a Pink Pilates Princess:
Pink Lululemon Sets
While pink sets aren't always Lululemon, they usually are. My preference is Old Navy active wear as of now, and I think they provide a quality but affordable alternative to Lululemon's high prices.
Gisou Hair Products
Gisou's honey-scented hair perfume and hair products give a pleasant smell to an after-workout self-care session. The packaging is also visually pleasing, which is obviously a plus.
All things Glossier
Glossier has been a popular brand for years, and for good reason. Their minimalistic approach to skincare and makeup has proven to attract customers of all ages and backgrounds.
One of the most comfortable shoes, Uggs, provide a cute accessory to a pink workout set, if you decide to go out after a workout.
Pink reusable water bottles
Water is essential, more so, for working out. It is important to stay hydrated. One way to keep your water cold and refreshing is an insulated water bottle!
There are 34 original exercises in total, but here are the most common five!
Single Leg Stretch
This movement works the lower abs. Many workouts use this movement for warming up or starting an ab series. Don't be fooled though, it definitely takes coordination and control.
Double Leg Stretch
This also works our lower abs, but to a greater extent. This is an extension of the single leg stretch, as you can infer from its name. It is definitely one of the more challenging moves and it takes an enormous amount of control. So, take it slow!
This is an incredibly complex back and hamstring stretch, but it feels so good. It is an oppositional stretch, meaning our chests and backs are opened by going in opposite directions. Bending your knees is a great way to make the exercise easier!
This is one of the most intricate exercises in pilates. Incredibly challenging, but equally rewarding. It increases flexibility, balance, and spinal mobility.
This exercise uses the entire body as it is suspended in a V shape. Of course, there are many modifications to start with.
Open Leg Rocker
This is definitely the hardest one of the bunch. Open leg rocker targets balance and spinal mobility. It can be tender at first, so make sure to listen to your body when doing it. This movement requires balance, control, and, of course, patience.
Although equipment isn't needed for most practices, it can be beneficial to increase or decrease the difficulty of practices. (I will not include reformer machines, as they are over 3000 dollars!)
These are usually acclaimed as essential to Pilates practice, as a slippery wood floor or rug burn from carpet is imminent without one. Yoga mats allow you to have grip by doing bridge exercises, and they just provide a nice cushion! My favorite yoga mat is actually from Marshalls, so there are affordable options all over!
These allow the floor to be in reach for stretching or standing exercises. They are also often used in bridge workouts to give more stability to the squeeze a bridge activates. Also, they can be a good, light object to hold while doing double leg stretches or saw movements!
The Internet's Obsession
Celebrities seem to be grand endorsers of reformer Pilates as well, with many paparazzi pictures of various celebs after a workout going viral. When Bella Hadid and Hailey Bieber were photographed after a Pilates class, many began to practice Pilates themselves.
Pilates has been worshipped by models and celebrities of all kinds. However, this phenomenon has definitely caused some misconceptions. Some tend to claim that doing Pilates will give you a "supermodel body", which sets extremely unrealistic standards for young people of today.
The resurgance of Pilates has seemed to bring up negative body images and habits that should be discouraged. Pilates is a great toning exercise, but it is important to assert that it will not give you a supermodel body. We should also stress that choosing to practice Pilates should be a decision for health, rather than an aid to extreme and rapid weight loss, which could be very unhealthy.
There is a thin line between healthy exercise and when exercise can ripple off into detrimental habits. Thus, it is important to promote realistic results from Pilates and to encourage wholesome habits.
When I heard that Pilates was a low impact exercise last year, I immediately tried it. It has also been difficult for me to do cardio exercise, as I am very susceptible to fainting. Yoga has been a testament to keeping myself healthy with exercise, so Pilates has been a great supplement into my exercise routine.
I mostly followed Youtube tutorials, and sometimes indulged in the library of Pilates videos.
The main thing I noticed is how sore I get the day after I do a Pilates circuit, which is definitely a detriment to the exercise. However, being able to do some of the harder moves (like teaser... the bane of my existence) has made me super proud of my progress.
So, if you are thinking about trying it out, I recommend it! However, don't expect physical results right away!
How do we practice Pilates safely?
Firstly, always listen to what your instructor is saying. An arched or rounded spine can really make or break your practice.
Listen to your body! It will always tell you what feels good. My rule of thumb is: you should feel the burn, but not be struggling to breathe.
When practicing Pilates, or any type of exercise for that matter, make sure that you aren't pushing yourself too far. Exercising for the first time is difficult. So, give yourself some grace when comparing yourself to other people who practice!
In terms of mental safety, it is important for everyone to move their bodies, but it is also essential to be conscious of potentially harmful mindsets.
Finally, why are we so obsessed with Pilates?
Pilates has been hyped for years as a great strength training exercise, but has recently gained notoriety amongst younger people. Its popularity is marked by a combination of effectiveness and influence. Social media has incredible power in our day and age, and the popularity of Pilates is another testament to the influence that social media and celebrities have on our everyday lives.
In a fast-moving world where new trends emerge from the blue everyday, it is extremely important for us to reflect on our choices and our interpretation of these ideas. While it is usually good to be actively involved from the get-go, take time to individually navigate through the thick of things and always do what makes you happy!