A Year of Pilates

(Post 235 of 263)

I am at a full year of going to Pilates three times a week, very nearly without fail (I missed a few classes during the kitchen nightmare, but made up for them in other ways). That this routine has changed my life cannot be understated. It’s not just about getting into shape, which I’ll get into in a bit, but also about how it is grounding me into a routine and my neighbourhood. It’s forced me to carve out six hours a week for myself, no matter how busy work is. I’ve made friends, I shop in person more, and I’m a regular at some businesses.

That said, I’ll have to admit that the last several months haven’t be great, where I attended class but just went through the motions, resenting every effort. I struggled with the change in my schedule to three mornings a week instead of two evenings and one morning. It wasn’t the time per se, as a 9:15 class isn’t difficult. But I’ve had to discipline myself to get up at a set time three days a week no matter how poorly I slept. I’ve also had to completely overhaul my eating schedule. There’s also been the stress of the kitchen (a still ongoing nightmare) and an exceptionally erratic work schedule.

So it’s no wonder it took me as long as it did to realise there was something actually wrong with me that no amount of extra time in bed or green smoothies or saying no to dessert or pushing through a workout when I just wanted to curl up in a ball was going to cure. As it turned out, I needed an increase in my thyroid meds! I was chastised a tad for taking so long to come to that conclusion, but I think that’s just a residual behaviour from a lifetime of nearly non-existent healthcare access in Canada — I work on myself first, making sure I’m doing everything absolutely right, and then I seek medical help. Maybe that’s not necessarily a bad thing. At any rate, I’m a week into taking my increased dose and today was told that the change in me is “dramatic.”

Today’s class was the first in ages where I was on fire, tackling exercises I didn’t even dare attempt a few months ago. A huge part of advanced Pilates comes from your core strength, something I never really actively focussed on before. All that walking in Campeche while minding my posture meant that I came back with my core much stronger than when I left the week before. It was a dramatic change for such a short period of time. Since then, my ability to perform exercises that require a strong core, which also helps in balance, has grown exponentially.

The first part of last year was about fixing my bad leg, and then helping me build increased strength and flexibility. This year is all about my core and my posture, and this is real work. I’ve started doing extra core work on my days “off,” and I’m constantly thinking about my posture and trying to remember to suck in the ab muscles and shift my spine. It’s a lot, but I want to be one of those ladies who ages gracefully, and so, I’m taking full advantage of having a mentor who can help me work on such things.

I’m slowly doing more and more things that I’ve never been able to do, but today felt like I had pushed through something really hard and come out the other side triumphant. I did this. And once I got into this position, I balanced on one leg, the other one straight back. I couldn’t even get onto the shoulder plates with my feet flat the last time I tried and here I was today balancing very nearly en pointe on one leg!

Image from https://www.sportskeeda.com/health-and-fitness/pilates-reformer-how-get-started