Pilates has changed my life in so many ways. Yet, when I started I was on a quest to achieve a single goal: I wanted to improve my posture. Beginning when I was a teenager, nearly every photo opportunity involved someone telling me to "pull your shoulders back." That was easier said than done. My shoulders were permanently rolled forward, a result of scoliosis combined with my lifelong status as a bookworm. As I progressed in my career, hours spent on the computer each day further compressed my posture. The photos were beginning to bother me; I was so hunched and my posture made me look so wearisome.
I started to research options that could help improve my posture, and found that Pilates might be a good fit. I knew nothing about Pilates, and to be honest, I wasn't interested in doing any hard work. I just wanted to "fix" my shoulders in an air conditioned environment with the minimal amount of effort possible. I thought about it for nearly 6 months before I finally decided to visit a Pilates studio. The staff was so friendly and invited me to try a beginner class the following week. I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into, or how that single decision would change nearly every aspect of my life.
I was a weakling when I started Pilates. I hadn't exercised in 10 years. I like to say that I took my 20s off from exercise, and resumed activity in my mid-30s. The reality is that I worked almost non-stop during those years and my body was deconditioned after years without any self-care. I mustered up the courage to go to the first class, and my poor sad muscles shook through most of the workout. Even though I didn't have much physical strength, I made it through the hour and felt surprisingly great afterwards. I was proud of myself for powering through, and I liked the flow of the class. All of the exercises were achievable with basic modifications and the routine moved at a consistent, manageable pace. Plus I didn't have to wear shoes!
There was a poster in the studio with a quote from Joseph Pilates. It said "In 10 sessions you will feel the difference. In 20 sessions you will see the difference. In 30 you will have a new body." I was intrigued. I signed up for 10 more classes. Soon I learned that my body was capable of so much more than I ever imagined. I became more flexible, stronger, and sure enough after about 20 sessions, my shoulders could move! My family started noticing that I was able to stand up straight for the first time in years. The mission was accomplished, but it morphed into a whole new pursuit of strength and wellbeing. And that mission just keeps growing!
The photo that prompted me to do something!
My new Pilates posture!