Why Pilates? Here is my story to answer this question.
I remember as a child loving to run, walk, play, climb trees, and swim. These activities filled my summer Wisconsin days in the forest of my big back yard. The movement in the forest made me completely happy and exhausted at the end of the day.
As years went by, school and social life started to eat my time. Time at the computer and tv became a big part of my life. Luckily my friend was a big runner and introduced me to running. I loved the feeling of being free and became an avid runner. Running on roads was my only choice, and after a few years I developed strong muscles but my joints hated the pavement. I stretched but didn’t really know how to stretch correctly. I stretched to the point I felt lots of pain thinking that would increase my flexibility.
When I graduated high school, I moved to Oregon and fell in love with the Old forest. I started trail running, and mountain biking. My joints started to feel better. A year later, I decided to go skiing at Mt. Hood for the day. Awesome days on a actual mountain. My 1st real skiing experience compared to the hills in Wisconsin. At the end of the day when I should of stopped skiing due to my legs shaking. I decided to go for another long ski…well my ACL tore on my left leg and I fell down onto my left arm. I ended up tearing my left acl, breaking my patella, humerus and left wrist. All in one fall. Mmmm….what bad luck? My body had reteach my left fingers to move. My radial nerve was damaged. It took over 8 months to recover.
That day changed my life. It changed my outlook. Was it bad luck or did it make me realize that we only have one body and its your choice to take care of it? Years went by, I learned how to whitewater kayak, and kept trail running. I ended up transferring to Western State in Colorado and running on their Cross Country team. My joints kept up with the low impact of trail running. However, in the back of my head I knew that lifting weights, running, working out all the time was not making me stronger but in a way weaker. I worked out so much, that it ate up my outdoor time. My muscles were so sore, that when I did run or kayak I could not give it the true strength potential I have. Something was not right???
One day I won a gift certificate for Pilates at the local Pilates studio. The instructor pointed out all of my imbalances and taught me lateral breathing. That session changed my life. For the first time, my eyes opened and I realized that I have been beating my body to become stronger and was not connecting the mind and body to work together. My 1st session reminded me of those days as a child playing in the forest in Wisconsin. A weight was lifted off my shoulders, and Pilates opened my mind to the possibilities of become stronger efficiently. I stopped lifting weights, and started doing yoga, Thai massage, acupuncture, and reflexology.
I have learned that my body does not need to be lifting weights to become stronger. I just need to strengthen my mind and the muscles that have been asleep for the last 15 years.
The last few years, I have been living in small towns with a very high athletic community. Climbers, kayakers, trail runners, hikers, and mountain bikers that are truly some of the strongest bodies out there.
I believe these athletes need Pilates and Yoga in their life. They are working out in extreme conditions. Pushing bodies to a point that I never thought was possible. Any sport/activity overdone will lead to imbalanced muscles. To become stronger in your sport/activity you must rest and need to work on strengthening the muscles that are weak and resting the muscles that are overused.
That is why pilates calls my name. That is why I’m a pilates instructor. I believe our body is our temple. Treat it with respect.