Pilates - a love affair long in the making.
20 years ago I went to my first pilates class and absolutely fell in love - it was in a small studio in Tampa, FL - the instructor (I thought) asked me if I liked Pies & Lattes and how much experience I had. I thought what a strange question but I guess I did and had fairly significant experience with both.
I discovered I liked Pilates far more than Pies & Lattes. I loved the movements, the refinement of motion and the isolation of certain muscle groups that often go long neglected.
Pilates is a method of exercise that really focuses on strength, flexibility and toning your core in particular.
The practice really resonated with me but like most (all) things, it fell off my radar and become a non-existent priority when stacked ranked against work, work travel, work planning, project deadlines & demands. I had no time to invest in anything that wasn't work related so pilates just became something I loved but abandoned.
Growing up I was a competitive figure skater - I discovered martial arts in my early 20's - played hockey in my 30's ... went back to martial arts in my mid-30's - was working out / running non stop. Then I hit my 40's coming off of two back to back broken ankles. All physical activity came to an immediate halt.
For someone who spent most of their life being incredibly physical and insanely competitive - this was a hard time for me mentally. I don't think I really did anything physical until this past summer after having a wildly successful knee surgery. That surgery was actually life changing for me - I'm so thankful and filled with gratitude for my orthopedic surgeon.
6 weeks after surgery I was hiking through Iceland & Ireland - Upon my return, I made the decision to go to a free Pilates Mat Class at my gym.
Even after such an extended absence - I felt at home with the movements and extensions. My body, while battered, was still incredibly strong and in those movements I realized my body hasn't failed me. There wasn't anything my body couldn't do - it was often seamless and fluid.
Me ... the me that could barely move 6 months prior. The me that looks in the mirror and misses being 120 lbs and 20 years old. The me that was so far removed from my athletic background that I no longer knew what it was capable of when I walked into class ...
That Me ... but it turns out, this me is incredibly strong and has an amazing body that is able to do great things.
I started out on a journey, picked a path and my instructor Alisa just happened to be there. There are people on Earth who you're supposed to meet and she's one of them for me. I work with her 1x1 once a week (Cadillac), joined a weekly group class (reformer / chair) and go to the mat classes as often as possible.
She and I talked about me joining the Spring instructor training and for the first time in a very long time, I feel motivated by purpose. I have since bought a Cadillac for my basement which I couldn't love more if my life depended on it. It was always my favorite in terms of my practice so for me to have one is the most exciting thing ever.
I do practice on my own every single day when not in class. The difference I'm seeing is fairly remarkable - the difference in how I'm feeling is mind blowing.
Benefits of Pilates:
Note: Pilates, at times, can be used in addition to PT. If you think you may have an SI issue or sacral torsion or rotation, See a manual or physical therapist as you don't want to strengthen the area if your sacrum is misaligned or you could make things worse. I'm a master of making things worse so believe when I say - get some qualified peepers on your sacrum.
THEN kick some ass in a Pilates class.
Net / Net - Pilates is amazing. It feels good to be back home in my body's movement. I'm trying to end each day with what I'm grateful for and what fills my heart with gratitude (which isn't easy at times) but I'm most certainly thankful for my pilates practice.
I can't wait to kick off my certification in the Spring - what an exciting next step in this journey!