Embracing the Journey
I remember the first time I understood the impact Pilates could have on my life.
I am lying on my back on the Reformer with my feet in the straps, watching my right leg vibrating as I move through the exercise. The movement doesn’t feel terribly difficult and my left leg still belongs to me, but the right has gone rogue and obviously is operating on its own agenda. ‘What is happening right now?’ I asked myself. I glance horrified (yet secretly fascinated) at my trainer who is nodding knowingly and tells me to ‘embrace the shake,’ you’ve tapped into an area that has been lazy for a while.
And just like that, my curiosity about this thing called Pilates and my journey to learn to teach it began. I spent time cruising Pilates podcasts, Instagram feeds and Googling; learning a bit about Joseph H. Pilates (yup, he was a real guy), and realized he was a man ahead of his time. In his 1945 book titled “Return to Life Through Contrology,” in addition to teaching his guiding principles and original 34 mat exercises, Pilates spoke about the dangers of civilization impairing our fitness and the “nervous tension” created by our fast tempo of living. Did he foresee the trends today where “sitting is the new smoking” and many suffer from “text-neck?”
Over the years Mr. Pilates’ basic tenants of “Contrology” have been paired with exercise science and have evolved into our current mind-body Pilates movement practice; the benefits of which allow you to tap into your personal movement potential, lessen the chance of injury, improve postural awareness, and leave a session feeling better than when you walked in.
Strength and spinal flexibility aside, the ability to take some time in our busy days to simply focus on breathing and becoming aware of your body’s capabilities (and perhaps a few humbling limitations) makes Pilates worth a try. The shakes are fewer now, but when they occur I know I can feel good about the work I am doing, knowing it’s more about the journey than the destination; with my number one goal being to grow older with balance and grace in my life.