When I first started Pilates, I saw it as a way to break through a plateau I had reached through my somewhat erratic routine of running, yoga and a variety of gym-based classes (Gut and Butt being one of my favorite). I had reached a stagnate point and time was marching on.
I became an acolyte of the highest order, though I was by no means actually very good at Pilates. (I am one of those unfortunate sway-backed babes with muscle memory in my legs and feet reaching way way back to the dark ages of gymnastics and ballet class. So the Teaser is never an effortless flow of grace for me, more like a grunting, shaking .) The changes to my body were evident and the compliments rolled in. Co-workers commented on the way that I walked. Boyfriends were delighted. Family and friends could be relied on for a steady stream of encouragement.
Then at the ripe old age of 46, I had a baby and since then, Pilates has become my life-line. There’s no question that my ability to carry my 8 lbs 12 oz baby girl to term with minimal – okay, well, let’s be totally honest minor discomfort has everything to do with faithfully showing up three times a week to my semi-private sessions. Rick, one of my long-standing teachers, guided me through my 7th month with colors (and a lot of leg springs.)
I recall the true wonderment in the night nurse’s voice as she helped me out of bed following the caesarian since I had relatively little problem. “My, my, you’re quite athletic, aren’t you?!”
I have to admit, getting back to Pilates was a major goal for me. And again, my teachers guided me carefully, reigning in my enthusiasm with caution, modifying my routine to safeguard against injury. Side splits were out of the question as was short spine, semi-circle, and my friend the teaser.
Then about a year after Kate’s birth, I realized I was stuck. Kate was a healthy, happy, tall and strong baby girl and she quickly put on the pounds (I’m happy to say that she’s hovered at 33-35 lbs for some time now), but ouch, it was a major strain on my back. In fact, my lower lumbar muscles spazzed out completely on the right side and my left hipflexor shut down to compensate. Ouch! Lying down on the reformer and having the teacher straighten me out felt like I was doing my foot-work nearly sideways!
At Lauren’s urging I started seeing Dan for Physical Therapy. At that point, it became clear to me that I had to start all over and learn the basics of scooping, of being aware of my powerhouse and using it in a completely new and different way.
Now nearly two years later (and a million leg springs later), I’m happy to report that my injury is well contained. Incrementally my powerhouse has strengthened so that as I add a new exercise to my routine I’m easing into it without pain or a need to force it to happen.
Who knew starting over was the only way forward?