Tag Archives: Back pain

Pilates is for Everybody

I stumbled into Pilates quite by accident (I wonder how many of us have done the same thing?). I had moved away from Nursing to a job in Pharmaceutical Marketing and I was working late. A friend asked me to join her at her exercise class and that was my first Pilates experience.

I loved it from the beginning – I honestly felt my body uncurling from a forward seated position and my spine sighing as I explored, what I now know to be better alignment. I felt stronger, toned and far more flexible than I had for ages – if not for ever! Growing up playing a number of sports, very little, if any time, was given to lengthening and strengthening any muscle group. I was besotted with how moving my body in this new Pilates way felt so good.

I continued taking Pilates classes, moving between Mat and Machines for many years, and began to develop my infatuation in exploring how my body moved and felt with Pilates. I have always enjoyed different movement modalities, but Pilates kept pulling me back, waiting patiently for my return.

It was after a Breast Cancer diagnosis is 2011 that I decided to act on my desire of becoming an Instructor. I had continued with my Pilates classes all through my treatment, being encouraged by my instructors to explore the movement and find ways of feeling better. Some days it might have been through my breath, other days just concentrating on the movement took my mind off my diagnosis, which was a huge release. Pilates helped me feel strong and a little more in control of my body.

I have enjoyed every minute of working as an instructor, knowing that every client is facing different challenges with their body. Pilates really is for EVERYBODY. Whether you’re a beginner or experienced. Whether preparing for an operation or recovering from surgery or an illness, or simply working to maintain your strength and flexibility.

Pilates in everyday life.

Pilates isn’t just about what you learn in classes – its fundamentals can be applied to everyday situations, where ever you are and what ever you’re doing.

By taking what you learn out of the studio, the benefits of pilates can be felt for longer. Take gardening for instance. Recently a client who hadn’t thought of using her core to support her back when gardening was disappointed at the end of the day when her back was sore. Engaging the core before lifting, bending, twisting or digging helps support the back as it moves, reducing the risk of pain. That principle can just as easily be applied to movements such as picking up a child, a shopping bag, or a suitcase or getting in and out of the car.

Throughout the day it’s easy for shoulders to hunch which can cause shoulder and neck tension and lead to discomfort. By remembering to keep shoulders relaxed and actively keeping your shoulders down your back (think about putting them in your back pockets) you can reduce muscle tightness and tension in your neck and shoulders, improving posture and helping you stand taller. A strong, engaged core and good upper body posture go a long way to supporting the rest of our body as we go about everyday tasks.  But it’s not just every day tasks that benefit from applying what you learn in a Pilates class – sporting performance can also be improved.  A stronger, better balanced body is a more efficient body – the benefits are endless. What’s your motivation to learn Pilates?