When You are on your mat your mind should be focussed on your body, this is to make sure you can tell what feels right and what doesn't as well as the exercise itself. Pilates requires allot of concentration and each exercise requires your full attention this sounds easy but in reality there are distractions in class and the mind loves to wonder.
1: Avoid lifting both legs off the floor together into table top position.
Why? Lifting both legs at once can cause the pelvis to tilt and the back to arch placing stress on the lumbar spine and lower back region, in addition to this, if your back is arched your spine is in the incorrect position to start your pilates exercise and when the spine is in neutral it is 20% stronger.
2: Trying to progress too quickly .
By nature we are all quite competitive and we all have a desire to progress. Progression is a good thing but it needs to be done at a rate that your body is ready for, It's one thing to go onto the next level of the exercise but it's another to perform it with control and do it correctly. If you try to progress onto the a more demanding version and you're not strong enough you could end up injuring yourself, you will also not fully benefit form the exercise. Wait until you feel strong and steady at the level you are at before attempting the next level up. If you're not sure speak to your Pilates Teacher and they will be the best person to advise you.
3: Ignoring an injury and ploughing through pain
Pilates exercises are demanding and effective but the exercises should never cause you sharp pain or burning or extreme discomfort. Your muscles should feel as though they are working and may begin to fatigue but know the difference between an ach and when something is wrong. if you feel something isn't right or you are just not sure, stop. Don't just carry on because everyone else in the class is, Each body is different and has its own past traumas and just because an exercise is ok for someone else it may not be for you.
4:Allowing your pride to stop you from doing modifications and even stopping you from attending class if you are injured or have been unwell.
Modifications are a great invention and make Pilates accessible for almost everyone and they are nothing to be ashamed off and should be used when and if necessary.
Most of us experience injury of some kind or another, and it can feel really hard coming to class with an injury when everyone else is looking well and moving well just as you did before your injury. Injuries suck big time, but they do offer us a chance to become humble and learn to take better care of our bodies, that's when the modifications are there to help gently bring you back to strength. Allowing you to continue your Pilates practice in a way that avoids putting pressure on an injury or an area that is weak.
Joseph Pilates (Founder of Pilates) Says "change happens through movement and movement heals". Don't stay home because you are injured Modify and be patient and you will recover stronger and wiser .
5:Staying away from class because you have been ill and you become afraid that you cant keep up with the class.
We all get Ill from time to time, and we must and need to rest to allow the body to recover and fight the illness. However there comes a time when you are back at work but you feel tired that its time to get back on the mat and ease yourself back into Pilates .The longer you leave it the harder it will be to get back on the mat and the weaker your muscles and body becomes.
Most of us do not use the lungs to their full capacity, Pilates was developed to encourage the need to fully inhale and fully exhale in every move and by doing so cleansing the lungs and open up the airways. As Joseph Pilates say- "Change happens through movement and movement heals".(Joseph Pilates, founder and creator of Pilates)
6: Staying in your comfort zone.
If you want to progress and become stronger with increased flexibility then You will have to get out of your comfort zone.When you can perform the beginner exercises with ease and you are not making further improvements then it is time to take it up to the next level. It may not be perfect and it will feel like hard work compared to what you have been used to doing and you should not try to do as many reps as you were comfortably doing in your cosy comfort zone but after a couple of weeks you will begin to feel stronger and you will get used to the exercise and feel the difference.