A self case-study
It’s never too late to turn to Pilates! In my early sixties I became determined to change my poor posture. These postural problems were definitely hindering me in my daily life.
This was especially so in the perceptions that other people formed of me based on my posture. It was time to correct this situation!
In other respects my appearance was lean and muscular, I was (and am) exceptionally fit, and I was a certified advanced gym instructor in the final stages of work for my PhD in the field of sport and physical activity.
From my background knowledge as a health educator and fitness professional I knew that, with a high level of self determination and consistency, Pilates could help me with my postural problems. I was extremely fortunate to find Karen Pearce, who was a professional ballet dancer before training in Pilates with Alan Herdman. After experiencing marked success in working with Karen for just a year, I realized that further correction of my postural problems would be very possible, but would take me time, after all I had spent decades holding my body in poor muscular alignment.
In fact, it was through my initial Pilates with Karen, and also through my later training in Sports Yoga, that I began to recognize that I suffered from a very distinct all round inflexibility, which, in turn, stemmed from poor thoracic and pelvic alignment. The reason? Well, this had been locked into place over the years, emanating from a psychologically and sexually abusive childhood. These were postural issues that I once believed to be unchangeable. This poor body alignment, unrecognized by me in my younger days, obviously hindered much of my development and prowess in my sports participation (except swimming). My poor shoulder posture together with holding in unexpressed emotions from my childhood were also reflected in my abdominal shape. This emotional tension had created very tightened psoas muscles, which in turn caused my tummy/lower abdomen to bulge outwards.
Through doing the Pilates exercises which I had learned from Karen, and, the Sports Yoga sequences which I had learned in my Sports Yoga teacher training, I was able to start to release my psoas tightness as I continued to work on pelvic stability. I also began concentrating on my thoracic stability. I did this through stretching my pectoralis muscles (chest muscles) combined with exercises focusing on strengthening my rhomboids and lower trapezius (upper back) to help me retract my scapulae (shoulder blades). Through Pilates and Sports Yoga I have been able to almost completely release these muscles. However, I am not totally free of the physical effects of my poor postural alignment and realize that there is still work to do. Yes, I’m not perfect yet, but I’m well on my journey to correcting the severe postural problems that I was convinced were here to stay. I am happy to say, not true! So, it is not surprising then that when I decided to train in Pilates, I returned to Karen to enroll in her teacher training course accredited by Alan Herdman Pilates London.
To engage with the Pilates exercises and to practice any form of yoga the body awareness that you learn whilst participating in these exercise systems continues with you into your daily life. Once you start to make body alignment corrections you will feel the difference in your body and you will be amazed at how much better you feel, not only physically but in your mind and spirit as well.