What exactly is Pilates, and what can it do for me?
I get asked this a lot. Let me start at the very beginning.
I was born with a bad hip; a thing called hip dysplasia- very simply, it means my hip doesn’t properly fit into my socket. It was never really a problem until I started dancing. Then I became incredibly painful, and my leg used to give way for no apparent reason. I was always falling over (non-alcohol induced) when going upstairs or anything that required me to stand on one leg (like walking!).
How Pilates Helped Me
I started to practice Pilates many years ago to help build strength in my own hips, which it did. I also became utterly pain-free, something I realised I’d never been. I noticed that my posture improved and I walked differently- lighter and taller somehow.
That’s when I realised that, hmm… perhaps there’s something in this Pilates malarkey, and I decided to train to become a teacher.
What is Pilates
The exact definition of Pilates as defined by Joseph Pilates in his book, ‘Return to Life through Contrology’, presents his method as the art of controlled movements, which should look and feel like a workout when properly manifested.
If practised with consistency, Pilates improves flexibility, builds strength, and develops control and endurance in the entire body. It emphasises alignment, breathing, core strength, improving coordination, and balance.
But …there’s something else, I’ve been thinking about this, and what Pilates truly is and what it can do for you.
What Can Pilates Do For You?
Yes, I’ll look and teach you about your alignment, posture, balance and stability, all of which are incredibly important – but what I think is much more far-reaching is you’ll get freedom, hope, confidence and a greater awareness and appreciation of our own bodies.
I’ve been teaching Pilates for many years now, and I’ve had people coming to me broken. Maybe this could be you? In a lot of pain, scared – scared of the future, afraid you won’t be able to work anymore, and scared to move incase you do more damage.
When in this situation, you can’t focus; all you can focus on is the fear and the pain. There’s nothing else there, just desperation for something to help them apart from increasing doses of painkillers.
I’ve helped countless folks in this situation – I’ve helped to give them hope and just some small glimmer that there might be a different path, that they may be able to help themselves. And show you how your body can heal itself.
I teach a particular system; not all Pilates teachers are the same.
My system essentially has 3 phases;
- Find and strengthen the inner core. (Awareness)
- Increase mobility and stability whilst engaging the inner core. (Mobility & Stability)
- Build strength to support the rest of the body. (Strength)
This system has proven to work countless times over the years, and of course, I’ve honed it and improved it.Building awareness first through breathing exercises, confidence building and small movements is the foundation. Without the foundations correctly in place, your castle is being built on sand.
Everyday I get messages from folks that my system has helped:
“I literally think you’re a superhero. Almost a year pain-free. You cured me. I’d rather give birth again than have back pain”
“Hi Jill, Just to let you know got a new hip 3 weeks ago and now walking on my own no aids. I thank god that I did Pilates, and strengthened my muscles hence the quick recovery. Anyone going for this op should do Pilates.”
I teach a very modern version of Pilates with firm routes in the traditional method. I also include primal pattern movements. It builds on the traditional version but has evolved to include modern scientific research methods. I also incorporate the integrated movement specialism and holistic lifestyle coaching that I learned from the esteemed CHEK Institute.
I look at the body as a whole.
When you come to private sessions with me we’ll not only look at your bio-mechanics and physiology, but also your lifestyle, nutrition, stress levels and any challenges or psychological issues that may be impacting upon your body.
We look at the whole picture, not just the site of the pain, but everything that could be impacting your body, including nutrition, movement, hydration, stress levels and many other factors that could be contributing.
When you come to classes with me, I can guarantee that you’ll have fun, you’ll be challenged (adaptation requires challenge, right?) and you’ll grow. You’ll grow stronger, more confident and you’ll grow to love your body and everything it does for you.
Personally, Pilates has not only given me the pain-free, ability to move well element. It’s also given me the freedom to step off the hamster wheel, it’s allowed me to make a life doing what I love and helping others, and for that I’ll be eternally grateful.
We’ve all been given this space suit…let’s look after it, nurture it and continue to develop it. Helping yourself is not only better for you, but you’ll become a stronger, more interactive human – which is better for the planet, it’s called evolution.
I also have an Online ‘Core Club’ if you’d like to join me for regular online workouts
click here for further info.