This makes me crack up every. darn, time. You can wear , (or 'where'), your hair loose, just don't let it get stuck in/on the apparatus. low ponytails or buns might not effect your head position at all for mat work or otherwise. I understand that the list above is by no means the law of Pilates hair, but I happen to be a person that has to factor in my hair when practicing Pilates. Sounds ridiculous, right?
For those of you who do not personally know me I have a full head of long, very thick hair. I never considered my hair to be anything more than an annoyance, like really tall people who have a hard time finding pants the right length. Then Pilates came along.
I put up a post on Instagram the other day, (insert shameless plug here: follow me on Instagram @methodpilates_ss), asking if anyone could spot the difference between two photos. I had not intended on having a comparison between two photos, but it came to me after my Mother, (shout out to Chrismunk!), patiently took at least 40 pictures of me doing the same exact thing. Of the pictures posted, there was one glaringly obvious difference that everyone spotted, (arm position), but I was surprised to see that no one noticed the change of my hair.
In one photo I have it in a low braid, in the other it is a hot mess of a high bun. I didn't change how my hair for the purpose of making something deliberately different, but because of my ability to comfortably perform the exercise. This is the reason why I have to consider my hair. It's not about fashion, but function and safety.
My general (personal) rules for Pilates hair are: 1) Mat exercises, high bun, 2) Reformer, low braid, 3) Universal hair, braided pig tails. I almost never do any sort of pony tail, low bun or leave it loose, my mop is too long and waaaaay to thick. I follow these guidelines for safety and form.
In terms of safety I have gotten my hair stuck in springs, hinges, eye-bolts, handles, the list goes on. Trust me, it is not fun when you are trying to keep the flow going and go to transition into another exercise only to realize you are laying on your own hair and abruptly getting your head yanked back.
But how can my hair compromise my form? Other than the fact it basically has a life of its own, it can straight up get in the way. Lets take a quick trip down memory lane...I was on a boat with my friend, her father and another friend of ours and we were going tubing/water skiing. When it was my turn to go I just could not get up; i had water-skied before and I knew the mechanics of how it worked.
In an attempt to help, my friends father was giving me the directive of having my knees close to my chest to which I responded, 'They are! They can't get any closer!". Needless to say it wasn't meant to be for me that day, but my chest was in my way of being able to get up on those skis.
Similar to my failed water-ski adventure, there are some exercises I cannot do correctly if my hair is a certain way. If I attempt to do any exercise where my arms/hands are behind my head I can't have my hair up high, I end up having to push my head forward so my hands can clear my head. I also avoid a single braid if I am on the reformer because my hair is too thick and it again, causes my neck to be out of alignment. It may sound far-fetched, but I could end up injuring myself because of my hair. Kinda crazy, right?
Bottom line is do what makes you comfortable. If that means having 60 bobby pins in your hair, so be it. If you just got a blow out and want to preserve it, let those locks flow. I know that at the end of a workout/lesson my hair looks like I stepped out of a wind tunnel regardless of being up, down, bunned or braided. 'Where' your hair however!
P.S. Did you notice the differences between the two photos I put on Instagram? There are 3 total, and I have given you two, spot the third one and send your guess to email@example.com to be entered to win a FREE 60-Minute Private Lesson!!!!