So my son recently started taking Taekwondo, and one day as I was observing class, my son and the instructor had this conversation while he was trying to do the splits.
Master: How are you doing, Ty?
Student: Not so good, Sir. It hurts, Sir.
Master: Oh no, Taekwondo Kids do not say, "It hurts." Taekwondo kids do not say, "Ow." They say, "I love it, Sir." Say "I love it, Sir."
Student: I love it, Sir.
So what to make of this? Well, initially I was a little worried. Is my son being taught to ignore pain or his feelings? I wouldn't want that.
But on second thought, it seems the lesson is that you can frame thoughts in your head so that you don't defeat yourself. This reminds me of my mantra, "I love the burn." or why I need to do the exercises that I "hate." But maybe I don't "hate" them anymore. Maybe I "love" them. Because they're making me stronger.
How we talk to ourselves is very important. How you talk to your clients is important. Honor that something is challenging. Much of Pilates is. But find the joy in the struggle, the love in the work. Pilates is difficult enough. Adding negative energy won't help you find depth in a stretch or connection in a movement. But maybe "loving" it will. And it will make the journey that much more pleasant, so go ahead - love the burn, love the stretch, love your body and the effort you're putting into it each time you approach the work. And who knows? Eventually, your self talk may turn into actual self love.