Pilates is an important part of my life. Truly Pilates has changed my life. The reason I connected with Pilates wasn’t about exercise but because of stress and tension relief. My job is stressful, probably like a lot of you, this causes my muscles to tense. Over the years I have suffered from headaches, neck and shoulder issues.
Everybody’s journey is different and everybody has their own reasons for why Pilates has become important in their life.
How did I find Pilates?
Pilates came into my life over 18 years ago. It started as my girlfriend group said we needed to get out and do something. If I am being honest we decided we needed to diversify our after-work activities from Happy Hour😁 The group didn’t exercise past walking. Our ages ranged from 25-40. My girlfriend found a Pilates class at the YMCA. We wanted something we didn’t have to work too hard at. We laughed the entire way through class. I remember others looking at us annoyed but we didn’t take the cue.
What is your Core?
You want us to use our core? You want us to be a Seal? The veteran Pilates classmates didn’t enjoy us very much. Some of the moves we couldn’t do because we weren’t coordinated. The stomach series we about cried because it was so hard. Side leg kicks we thought this is it… we don’t feel anything. I remember the teacher saying how Pilates was an important part of her life as she suffered from Fibromyalgia. She said she was in constant pain but Pilates helped her. The strange thing is she didn’t look sick or in pain. In my head, I was saying how she must have been a complainer. We never went back but strangely after my twins were born I remembered that class and how good it felt on my muscles and my stress.
My Pilates Start Was Comical
An infomercial popped up and I bought the Windsor Pilates VHS series, put them into my VCR and started doing Pilates at home. Yes, VHS and VCR, for those of you don’t know Google it. Every time I practiced my muscles felt like they were uncoiling. That feeling was amazing. My job is fairly stressful. At this point, I still laughed at myself doing the Seal. My husband and I lived in a 2 story house and I remember doing the Seal every day and praying that he didn’t come down the stairs. If he did he would get the laugh of a lifetime. Imagine Olive Oyl in Popeye… if you don’t know Google that too.
Pilates for Stress
Fast forward to 2009 with stress at an all-time high and I was struggling in my career. My company got me a business coach. In the first meeting with the business coach, he asked me what 3 things I do for stress relief. I laughed….. just get to the point and tell me what I needed to be a better leader at work. After much prodding, I told him – Pilates. I had stopped doing Pilates for a couple of years as I was too busy. He asked me to commit and I committed to doing Pilates 2 times per week. Once again my muscles started to uncoil, my stress level went down and I was handling things better at work. My career since then continues to grow. At work, I am a much better employee when I am doing Pilates consistently and I feel so much better.
When I go to Pilates class I don’t t like I am going to an exercise class. When I go to class it isn’t about how fast I can go to beat my neighbor. My thought process is I am going to reduce stress, treat my muscles well and stay limber as I age. In the past, I suffered from terrible headaches on an almost daily basis and when I do Pilates (and no scrunching shoulders) the headaches are gone.
Pilates & Autoimmune
In 2019 I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Read more about this https://straitontrack.com/autoimmune-diagnosis/. The doctors kept telling me that I need to move 20 minutes per day. How would I do that when I was in so much pain and exhausted on the daily? The doctors never had a response. I signed up for Pilates Private Sessions. The pain was so intense my hands hurt so bad and I was protecting them. It is harder than you think to move and do an exercise when your hands hurt and you are protecting them from hitting anything wrong. My instructor knew exactly what I needed. In the first session, we did some small ball work and foam roller. My mind kept thinking I paid for this? Slowly every session I progressed and my instructor would adjust and add in as I showed improvement.
I am taken back over 20 years to that Pilates Class at the YMCA and remember that instructor talking about her Fibromyalgia and I finally understood. Today I can tell you I do mat, reformer and chair classes weekly. Over the last few months, I have added back in Tower and can hold the bar! I always avoided Tower because of the pain in my hands! Last month I tried the Spread Eagle on the Cadillac!
Becoming a Pilates Teacher
In 2018, I jumped into Pilates teacher training. My kids were finishing their last years of high school and I wanted something to do when they were gone. Learning more about my body and how to fine-tune the exercises. Pilates has given me so much for stress management and I want to share what it has meant to me.
Pilates teaching is in my future to fill the “free” time and the studio is my happy place!
My absolute favorite thing about going to the studio is that it feels like visiting friends and getting a daily dose of wellness. Also, I feel really welcomed by the staff and instructors. I am surprised that I have gained confidence and am happy to see my posture improving as well. The form and stretching we do in class have also elongated my body. I have more energy and feel like it’s a total workout after each class. With the Pilates method, I feel more balanced, flexible and stronger. Pilates has changed my life! Commit to trying out a class! Studios sometimes offer a 4-week beginner class.