My journey into Pilates began with a personal struggle of strengthening my hip and back, as well as seeking a new challenge of fitness. The hip issues began in high school when I sustained and avulsion fracture training in Track and Field. An avulsion fracture occurs when the ligament has pulled bone away from its insertion point. Yes- ouch! Many years later, after moving from Florida to Virginia, I took up running on Virginia’s beautiful trails. As I began checking off a series of races, I noticed that the plaguing hip injury from years ago was reminding me that it hadn’t gone away. In 2009 and 2010, I underwent two reconstructive surgeries to salvage what was left, told that I would have a hip replacement by the time I was 40.
Distraught, yet determined, I looked into Pilates. What is Pilates? In 1912, a man named Joseph Pilates lived in England working as a circus performer, boxer, and self-defense instructor. As an intern with the German Nationals, he developed and applied his technique of physical fitness by teaching internees. Later in WW1, he served as an orderly in a hospital on the Isle of Man, where he worked with patients unable to walk. Pilates attached bed springs to the hospital beds to help support the patients’ limbs, leading to the development of his famous piece of equipment known as the ‘Cadillac’. Pilates emigrated to the United States in the early 1920s with his wife Clara, and together they developed and taught the method in their ‘body-conditioning gym’ in New York in 1926. His original techniques and methods focused on breath and total body health. Today, it has evolved into breath, concentration, centering, control, flow, and precision.
Although I started on the equipment as a client, I now teach Mat Pilates. This type of Pilates is practiced on the floor, using one’s own body weight. Teaching several classes a week, I have maintained function of the hip, inspiring others of all ages that if Pilates has strengthened my life, then they’re practice of Pilates will strengthen theirs.
I took that leap over 6 years ago, hoping to find something that would allow me to continue my love of running and function through my daily living. Although I’ve faced hills to climb along the way, with the support of my medical team, I can still run. In fact, inspired on how well I felt and what I was able to overcome. My body is leaner, and the core stronger, than it ever has been. I’m actually feeling more fit as I age!