How Pilates Changed My Life by Judy Bloom

What can I say? I love Pilates.

I was always fairly active as a child, but never really dedicated myself to one sport or activity, aside from the usual kids things like riding my bike, walking, playing around the neighborhood. When I turned 12, I was diagnosed with scoliosis. I’d never heard of that before, but I knew it wasn’t good. I spent puberty confined to a back brace nearly 23 hours a day, allowed to remove it for what was supposed to be physical therapy sessions. Some of my exercises were done in the brace. I spent much of the time doing pelvic tilts. Though hardly ever teased, I protected myself by disconnecting my mind from my body (a self-preserving yet very unhealthy thing to do.)

My parents tried to help by arranging physical therapy for me, but I wasn’t a very disciplined child and I didn’t do my exercises as often as I should have. I was excused from PE classes since I didn’t want to change into my uniform with the other girls. I’d have been better off staying active, but I escaped PE all the way through high school – even though I was out of my brace by 10th grade – because the school, out of sympathy for me, didn’t require me to take it.

Although I have always felt relatively healthy, my occasional back and neck pain has caused me some problems. As an adult, I’ve always tried to remain active – joining gyms, aerobic classes, hiking, biking, running, walking – yet I’ve never had the dedication to stick with anything for more than a few months. For instance, before I moved to Seattle I was fairly religious about step classes and weight lifting. Though I was thin and pleased about that, I always had this nagging back pain, and I’d often sit with slumped shoulders, blaming my over-endowed breasts for all my problems. I never made any connection between my aches, pains, and migraines and my postural weakness. I still had that disconnect between mind and body.

Five years ago, I moved to the Seattle area and was introduced to Pilates by Lauren Stephen, an old friend who knew me from my back brace days. Two years ago, I finally gave it a try. I was hooked immediately.

Pilates has changed my life in so many ways. I feel better, stronger, more self-confident. All of my other leisure activities have improved as a result. I receive compliments all of the itme about the way I look. My husband says he’s noticed a complete change in the way I see myself, that I am more comfortable in my own skin. My friends call me “Pilates body.” The most amazing thing is that people actually come up to me and tell me that I have great posture – something I never thought I would hear. And I have been dedicated to Pilates, attending private sessions two to three times each week. I know Pilates will always be a part of my wellness regimen; it has saved me from a lifetime of pain and discomfort. Acquaintances in the town where I live know me now as the “Poster Child for Pilates.” And I’m very pleased about that!