has helped me
It’s never too late to turn to Pilates for rehabilitation! In my early sixties I knew from my appearance that I was lean, muscular, and exceptionally fit. However, I also knew that since childhood I’d had poor posture. I am sure that my poor posture led to lots of unhappy moments for me throughout my life. At times, my poor structural appearance formulated other people’s perception of me as weak and easy to take advantage of. Likewise, quality confident people that I like to meet and enjoy having in my life, would have engaged with me more often if I had consistently given off different body-posture signals. Poor posture and its effects on the person concerned can also lead to poor self esteem and lack of confidence. Poor posture also has potentially serious neurological implications for us, especially as we grow older. All of these side effects will, if not addressed, worsen as one ages. I was not going to let any of this happen to me. Now was the time to address my posture.
So, from my background knowledge as a health educator and fitness professional I knew that Pilates was designed for rehabilitation which was exactly what I needed. Having been involved in sport and fitness all of my life, I also knew that with a high level of self determination and consistency, Pilates would help me to improve these areas of my own body. I was extremely fortunate to find Karen Pearce, who was a professional ballet dancer before she trained in Pilates with Alan Herdman. After experiencing marked success in working with Karen for just a year, I realized that further correction would be very possible, and needed.
Through my initial Pilates with Karen, I also began to recognize that my structural problems (severe head forward posture, rounded-forward shoulders, and sway back), 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 body alignment issues that I had just accepted as part of me were actually issues that I could change. I also began to reflect back over my life, and came to realize that these alignment issues had obviously hindered much of my development and prowess in my sports participation (except swimming and life saving). My poor thoracic and pelvic alignment showed the long term effects on my body of holding in unexpressed emotions from my childhood. Holding in this emotional tension had created for me 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, 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 I have been able to almost completely release these muscles. However, I am not totally free of the physical effects of my poor alignment and I also realize that there is still more work to do. Yes, I’m not perfect yet, but I’m well on my journey. 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.
For me to fully engage with the Pilates exercises, I had to concentrate on focussing on body awareness, which then needed to be continued on into my daily life. Once I started to do this and made my own body alignment corrections, I really felt the difference in my body and was amazed at how much better I felt, not only physically but in my mind and spirit as well. This is what I would like to share with you.