I am beginning my STOTT Pilates certification process in January of 2016. Whenever I mention this to people, some will ask me if I want to teach Pilates while also doing massage therapy. Others will just say, “I hate Pilates.” The truth is, before I discovered STOTT Pilates, I hated it too.
I tried doing Pilates a few times in a gym setting, and I always ended up hurting my lower back and neck. The most recent time it happened, I thought, I’m never doing this again. What made me change my mind?
A couple of years ago, I attended a two-day Anatomy Trains Course. My orthopedic massage practice cites Tom Myers and Anatomy Trains as references, so I attended the course because I wanted to learn more. It was an amazing class and a great learning experience for me.
Why take Pilates classes?
I was reminded of how important it is to re-educate the body with soft tissue, and also with specific exercises that keep the body in alignment. Every teaching assistant of this particular class was both a body worker and a Pilates instructor.
I had every intention of visiting one of the local practitioners to learn more after my experience, but she was busy and we couldn’t seem to align our schedules. I already had a variety of regular exercises, so I wasn’t able to fit in the Pilates at that time.
I have been participating in Triathlons for about 4 years. I started doing them because I thought it would be a great way to cross-train and have fun. Unfortunately, I developed a knee injury after my first race. My various injuries over the years have been frustrating, because I’ve always had to stop doing the activity that I love and start from the beginning. After doing physical therapy for a few months, I was able to make my way back into my training schedule and continue doing my races.
I sponsor and belong to Northeast Multisport, and this past winter, one of the other sponsors, Symmetry Pilates Center, held a meeting at their studio to teach us about what they do. I was completely blown away by everything they described. Their techniques perfectly fit into my practice of orthopedic massage. I had also recently been in physical therapy AGAIN for my knee, so I was hopeful that their techniques would be of help to me.
What are some of the benefits of Pilates?
When it comes to corrective exercise for posture, Pilates is right up there. Up to this point, I have had a postural analysis there, 11 private lessons, 8 semi-private lessons, and I am now taking mat classes. My knee now has significantly less pain, my posture has improved, and it has increased my body awareness. I am using it as a tool to improve my posture and also to make me a better athlete by being in the right position while I engage in sports and everyday activities.
I am still figuring out when my body is in neutral, which is a very challenging discipline. It is as much a workout for the mind as it is for the body. I often say that it makes my brain sweat.
Remember, not all Pilates classes are equal.
The differences between Pilates classes may cause different effects on your body. The classes that I took at the gym were not STOTT Pilates classes. If you are interested in learning more about the origins of STOTT Pilates, click here for a great article.
My vision for becoming a STOTT Pilates instructor is to integrate soft-tissue work (massage) with Pilates for immediate neuromuscular reintegration. If we perform exercises with the soft tissue work, your body is more likely to remember and stay in the correct position or posture for a longer period. I will also give you some home exercises so that you can continue your body’s alignment.
A good massage can last about three days, but I don’t have any clients that are able to come in every three days. The expectation that my soft tissue work is going to “fix” you unfortunately just isn’t true. I only have access to your body for 60 to 90 minutes for once a week to once a month. While I can’t offer an immediate fix for you, I can help you get to know the root of your body’s dysfunction. I hope to give you the tools to reclaim your life and allow you to continue doing what you love.