This blog post, obviously by title alone, will be a more personal share. It is safe to say that, after doing Pilates for over 15 years now, there is something that has kept me excited about it after all this time. It is not just a form of exercise. It really isn't! Looking back, it's fun to see how Pilates has traveled with me during different seasons of my life, and I think, is a true testament to the statement that "Pilates is for Everybody".
When I first discovered Pilates, I did not know what it was. I was looking for a summer job, and a studio down the street was hiring front desk help. I had *secretly* been hoping to find a job at a yoga studio, but this seemed to fit the bill. At the time, I had incredible upper back and shoulder pain. I was constantly trying to stretch or find a better position to get some relief. I was convinced, at the ripe old age of 27, that it was just a symptom of "getting older". During this season, I was doing a lot of yoga and running, and I thought I was pretty fit, but I never seemed to get any relief. And yet...after two sessions of Pilates (which was free to me because of my new job), my chronic shoulder pain was GONE! I could not believe it. Two sessions in, I was forever hooked and wanted more Pilates. More Pilates!! And with each session I remember becoming more aware of my posture, my body, my bad habits, and it was such a process of un-learning while my muscles got stronger and more balanced. Soon after, I decided I needed to start teaching-the only true way I would be able to do Pilates everyday for the rest of my life-and here we are. I felt like I had uncovered this incredible secret to great health, and it was so much fun being able to share it with others. It still is! In these first few years of my Pilates journey, Pilates truly brought me back to a better way of living, or as Joe Pilates would say, a Return to Life.
Joe Pilates would also say that Pilates was about the "mind-body connection", and I think that is truly the part of the recipe that keeps bringing me back each day. For me, I first understood this mind-body connection after my dad had passed away. I had been doing Pilates for a few years at that point, and I remember trying to do Pike on the Chair during my session and could not get that paddle to lift, no matter what I did. I was so confused, and also totally humbled. But it was also that moment that I was finally able to cry the cry I needed to cry, and connect back to some of the feelings I was fighting so hard not to feel. During that season, my Pilates practice became much more therapeutic. I really feel that it helped me to heal through my grieving process; there is something so helpful with movement when we are not feeling quite ourselves. I think the Pilates practice can be a nice, familiar routine to turn to when we want to move but maybe don't want to think so hard. For me, it was just what I needed (and yes, that Pike came back when I was ready).
When I became pregnant, I remember feeling very excited to experience Pilates from a pre and post-natal perspective. And this is truly the season (and still is!) where I really started to understand how Pilates "meets you where you are". I had always enjoyed Pilates as a pretty physically fit, injury-free bod. It had always been about taking on new challenges. Now I was learning to use Pilates to support myself, first as a safe way to keep moving and staying strong, and then after baby, as a way to heal safely. And I need to be honest...3 years into being a mom...now I have had injuries! As my little guy has grown, I've experienced back pain and shoulder pain and all the things that come with carrying a heavy load over a long period of time. (I've since had a chat with my heavy load and he helps mommy out more, but you get the idea.)
With each new ailment motherhood has brought (there are good things, too!), Pilates has been there to help me back to balance again and feeling strong. I'm so forever grateful for this practice.
I'd say the season I'm in now is one of "lack of time". Is that a name of a season? It is now. But I feel how Pilates has been helping me thrive through this season as well. I love that I'm learning how 10 minutes of Pilates can feel just as great as an hour session. I'm learning to throw in one exercise after morning coffee and three more during my little guy's bath time at night. I'm moving and I'm trusting that these exercises, even if done out of order or not always at the same time, will keep me feeling strong, both mentally and physically. And, not gonna lie, I dream of the day when I can get an hour session in again, but for now, I'm grateful for this new way Pilates is serving me in life.
All this to say, Pilates is for you. Right now. Whatever is going on, or however you feel your physical strength is today, it is SO for you. I know this is true. I absolutely strive for physical health and strength, but my goal with Pilates has never been to lose pounds or get into a certain outfit (or etc etc you see where I'm going with this). If that is your goal, then I'm just not for you. To me, Pilates is what brings me to my fullest sense of health and well-being. Something so much more than just a physical aesthetic. Pilates is something that, as life changes and as I grow older, I can keep doing it and it will always be there to make me feel great. I just love that so much! I will always keep trying new things, because that is what makes life fun, but Pilates will always be there to put me back together and keep me feeling my best.