While I was very athletic in high school I became quite sedentary after college and after many years in corporate jobs. I decided to go back to the gym but found that to be quite boring and lonely. It was hard to stay motivated working out by myself. I tried weight lifting and aerobic classes but they left me with tight hips and low back pain that I couldn’t continue. I felt like a failure.
I reluctantly tried a mat Pilates class but was pleasantly surprised. The pace of the class was not too fast and not too slow. I could actually follow the instruction. While I was in a group class the instructor kept a close eye on everyone’s form and made the focus of the class about moving efficiently without stress to the body. The class flew by and I felt fantastic. I was energized yet centered. I had no joint soreness or stiffness and learned more about my body than I had in years. I felt empowered.
It wasn’t long before I noticed differences. The nagging low back pain went away, my hips were not tight and I stopped slouching. With continued practice I gained more tone, strength and flexibility in a way that worked for my body. I was not pressured to do what everyone else did but was guided to focus on what worked for me. I finally found something that was doable and realistic.
I continued my Pilates practice on the equipment, mainly the Reformer. This is where the magic happened. The equipment brings the mat work to a whole new level giving more range of motion and quicker results. Working against the resistance of the springs gave me more feedback on my movement mechanics. The corrective aspect of the equipment as well as the watchful eye of my instructor gave me results.
I choose Pilates because it doesn’t care how old I am, what my size or weight is or how inflexible I am. In fact, rather than not moving due to pain it suggests that I move and use Pilates to get out of pain! Pilates does not look at the outside of a person but rather addresses the body from the inside out. It only cares about helping you move in a way that you can stay strong, flexible and pain free. Pilates is more than exercise: It is the vehicle for you to live an inspired life with a sense of empowerment.
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