My Church of Fitness! Now don't you go breaking my beliefs
Many years ago I taught a Pilates class, my class requested some standing stretches at the end of the class for a change and of course I obliged. So, thinking with my fast brain I managed to complete my Mat Based Pilates Method then in my seasoned instructor head quickly gathered the flow of the standing stretches.
Off we went, some hamstring stretches (folds), hip flexor stretches, you know the usual stuff then I announced we stand into a warrior 2 stance....2 ladies just sat down. I repeated myself "come on now, stand wide, turn toe out, drop through front knee, elongate through the back leg and sink into warrior. NOPE still sitting and slightly sulky looking. The said ladies, thanked me for the class and left and never to be seen again.
It turns out I suggested a yoga move and this simply interfered with their faith. OMG! Religion has crossed over into fitness classes. I was told that their philosophy felt any yoga practise cleared the mind and allowed the devil to creep in! Really? One of the big differences between Yoga and Pilates is that one is a way of life and the other designed as sport specific. That is a dramatic statement and is another blog but for now just take that broad statement.
From then on, I had a mental caption that stopped me saying phrases such as "point your toe to heaven" or find another way of saying "meditation!" Political correctness gone mad?
We have beliefs AND our opinions. We know what we know and sometimes we find it hard to take guidance that will break our beliefs. For example telling someone from slimming world culture that eating huge quantities of processed food (with slimming world on the label) is unhealthy for you! Or that Pilates isn't a waste of an hour fitness but one of the best things is for you to understand your body and have the right structure working before you train muscles on top of it!
When we are challenged we often become defensive and protective as we feel our values are under attack. Too often I am shut down by someones opinion when they haven't even explored both sides of the argument.
Is there an art to changing someone's beliefs? Is there a trick?
Sometimes the proof is in the pudding...the body language can often show us whether someone will be susceptible to another idea. (back to the ladies sitting down in my standing stretches) Over the years I have tried many ways to help alter opinions, much of the debate is wrapped around evidence. Just trust me and see the difference.
I feel that when you step inside my studio/club/village hall or community centre that you value my values. Rudeness and faith doesn't interfere with evidence based movements and science. I have the knowledge, let me work on making you feel fabulous and you keep your opinions to social media! (that was sarcasm)
Trust your trainers, listen to them as often their knowledge is up to date and they want you to get your results, hit your goals!. Your happiness is important to your instructor. Your time with your trainer may be wrapped up around music and laughter but I can assure you there is always method in the madness.
My faith is of no interest to you, your wellness is at my heart, my values lie in your health and sharing great knowledge to improve your quality of life.