I probably have three new clients a month that walk through our studio doors with undeniable, debilitating back pain. I sure do wish they didn't have to live with the pain, but I am relieved they have come to find out if Pilates could help them get their lives back. So, how does Pilates help with wrenching back pain?
Pilates is a method of movement that focuses on one's center or power house, the inner most layer of abdominal muscle called the transverse abdominus, multifidi, the diaphragm, and the pelvic floor. These particular muscles work in orchestration with one's breath to stabilize the lower spine. Many people don't know how to contract these muscles, so they are lacking the support they need to maintain optimal posture and remain pain-free.
I was in a small group with a woman in her 70's, who was experiencing an extremely difficult time with her low back. She was in such excruciating pain that she saw her doctor. He ordered x-rays and an MRI. These tests showed that there was nothing wrong. She was confused and frustrated, not to mention uncomfortable. I asked her if she would stop by my studio so I could teach her how to contract and relax her core. She came in one afternoon and I taught her the foundations of Pilates. She got up from the table and began to cry. I was worried and asked her what was wrong. She said that there was nothing wrong. She said that it was the first time in months that she had no back pain. I know it sounds too good to be true, but it is not. Pilates is not magical- well I know a few Instructors who might argue that it is! Pilates is practical! Pilates can heal a hurting back. Give it a try. You may think Pilates is a miracle method too.
I had the most "BLAH" day today. Nothing was actually horrible about the day, but I had to fill the day with things that I just don't find exciting or stimulating. I had to wait for three hours to get a new tire put on my car. I had to drive my son to and from his new high school that is thirty minutes away. I had to be on the phone with technical support to fix my brand new printer. When I have days that are filled to the brim with the mundane, I do two extremely important things. The first is to make a grateful list in my head. What were the things in my day that I am truly grateful for? First of all, I can say that waiting for three hours for my tire to be replaced was not so bad because my ten year old daughter was with me. We walked across the street to check out a craft store, ate lunch at Steak n Shake, which is completely revamped, by the way, with no waiters or waitresses (super strange and fun!), and shoe window shopping with lots of giggles. I would not have traded that precious three hours with her before school starts for anything. Secondly, my long car rides with my teenage son has proven to be time well spent. We got to talk about slightly deeper topics. Today, he opened up about comparing himself with others. We found common ground, because don't we all have a bit of "imposter syndrome." (If you don't know what imposter syndrome is, check out onlinepilatesclasses.com with Lesley Logan.) She may not have coined the phrase, but she explains this infamous ideal perfectly. I am thankful that my son opened up to me. I'll take it! Lastly, I may have been on the phone FOREVER with technical support...however, it forced me to sit down and write my first blog. Here I am. I am at the end of my day, and I still have not worked out. My intention was not to leave Pilates for when the moon came up. I am going to push through for me, for my sanity, for my love of the movement, for the feeling I know I will have when I finish, for my health, and for my family. I am a better wife, mom, friend, and instructor when I take-NO!- make the time for myself. I think I might pull up a mat class by Rael Isacowitz. He is an incredible teacher with a heart of gold. His voice and the Pilates exercises are exactly what I need before this day is through. Dear Pilates friend, squeeze in that time for yourself today. It may not be the time we intended, but we will be present all the same, as we are, in the moment, and we will be grateful!
A Pilates Instructor, Mom of 4, and wife to an A-Mazing man!