When I walked away from my first Pilates private lesson with a sense of lightness, ease, relief, I knew something was “just right.” Our bodies “want” and “know” how to be healthy. My life at the time was full of joy and yet full of so much stress. Looking back, finding time for myself – a busy stay at home Mom with 4 kids who were born at home and breast-fed – was a daunting task. Yoga had been my outlet for a few years, my practice began before, during, and post-natal. Something was still not deeply rooted in my lower core, it seemed to be a sense of lack, a malaise, not complete. I felt the missing link even in that first lesson.
Over six years of private lessons (group reformer classes were unheard of at the time), Pilates became my passion. Why? My personal journey: I was born with an addictive personality, that my drive to succeed and accomplish and do more helped cover up deep seated dis-ease, a hole in my soul that I could never put my finger on. After a Pilates session, I felt connected and whole. My friendships over the years revolved first around sports, activities at school, then at work, then my husband, then kids. There was a never-ending whirlwind of more, and going to my Pilates session gave me an hour to myself, where I could slow down, breathe, and feel my body.
What do I run from? Or am I drawn towards something? The first time I practiced meditation, I was supremely aware at how difficult it was to simply sit, be. This was something my late husband was particularly good at. We balanced each other out. My nickname was Debbie Do. This can be a strong suit, but at the same time, too much leaves me drained and unhappy. Nowadays, my happiness comes more and more from learning to “BE. “
Pilates has taken me on a journey, a search for my soul, my wholeness, my happiness. It’s not the kids, the custom-built home, riches, trips, or the material possessions, that brings me joy. It is a feeling within. When I feel my body. When I cultivate new lifestyle habits every day. For instance, by meeting a friend at the studio several years ago, I decided to follow her lead and take the “Whole Life Challenge.” As a disciplined person, the thought of doing an 8 week (56 days!) challenge one day at a time of 7 daily lifestyle habits seemed like a good idea.
Growing up I was teased about my butt. As a ski racer, my legs and hips were supremely developed, no problems at all. Over years of sitting at a desk in my 20’s, in my 30’s having 4 kids in 9 years, by the time I was in my 40’s and learning about Pilates, I was out of shape and diagnosed with osteoarthritis through some overuse (running football field stadiums?) and a longer left leg (broken growth plate in a ski incident). Pilates came to me almost by accident – my yoga friends told me about this terrific core workout (PIE – LATES) is what I thought it was called. My blog on that experience (http://wp.me/p3S9VD-hp). Pilates has toned me, lengthened and strengthened my arms and torso, But it wasn’t until this WLC that I truly felt a difference in my lower body (pelvis, legs). People come to the studio all the time to lose weight. That’s fine. We need movement. Pilates certainly motivated me over the years to stick to it – but I had a dirty secret (most of you know)
Cookies and ice cream.
My joyful life quickly turned to stress just months after the studio was opened. My husband lost his job (family business with an unfriendly take over), was diagnosed with emphysema, my kids were starting college, and life got very very stressful. In no time my passion – the studio that had just opened became our entire family’s bread and butter. STRESS. Can we say it louder?
S T R E S S.
Sleep deprived, running on late-night sugar, too many hours, worry, fear, and simple survival mode (what are we eating for dinner tonight and where will we live?) my life catapulted into a dimension of existence that I never dreamed would happen. My knight in shining armor walked through this time with me, always with a cheerful smile, a hug, a reassuring nod that everything would be ok. All I knew at the time was if I went to the studio, helped someone else, I would get through the day. I hosted workshops to get cash-flow to get my older kids set up at college, marketed, branded, and set a good name for TriPilates and what we did. I am still not even sure how I survived, many of our students stayed with our studio through thick and thin. Again, all I knew is when I am doing and teaching Pilates, the present moment, the one on one connection helping another human being, even my own self learning to breathe and relax through difficult situations is what pulled us through.
Miracles happened. We moved our home and studio – a story for another day – but if it hadn’t been for teaching a dying woman Pilates, we wouldn’t be living where we are today. I will forever be grateful to her, to her friend Betsy, to my late husband who calmly provided prayer, support, and warmth in a very cold and hostile situation. Our studio wouldn’t be where it is today without the same three angels in our life.
Today I am content right where I am, in the here and now. Starting at the end of May, we have gathered up a TriPilates TEAM that will support each other through the next Whole Life Challenge. I feel lighter, happier, and ready to take on anything!
JOIN OUR TRIPILATES WLC TEAM:
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Thanks to Pilates! I know without a doubt that the practice and teaching of Pilates will ALWAYS keep changing my life for the better. It doesn’t get any better than this. I am healthy, my children are healthy, I have hopes and dreams for a future that is fulfilling and happy. Some of you know that I’m turning 60 this year and hoping to climb a mountain in Montana, where I was born. I told my Dad this just before he died, and well, it feels like the right thing to do.