Fitness or Wellness?

Over the past decade or so, Pilates has become commonplace in the realm of fitness.  Most of us have heard about some celebrity or athlete who uses Pilates as part of their fitness program.  We know that Pilates is supposed to be good for “core strength” right?  You may have also heard it is good for long lean muscles, flexibility, or any number of other claims related to fitness.  The real question is, have you heard about the benefits Pilates, or any movement training for that matter, can offer your wellness?

What is “wellness”?  I suppose that depends on who you are talking to.  In my world, wellness is about the overall productivity of your body.  As my great friend Ann Crammond says, we all want to “prolong our shelf life”.  Well, the process of doing so is my vision of wellness.  While it is wonderful to look good, it is even better to feel good.  Many of us are familiar with the aches and pains that seem to be par for the course for these bodies of ours.  Many of us may even think of our bodies as a burden.  They are something we have to deal with in the course of living our lives.  We have to somehow deal with our pain – whether from injury, overuse or just faulty patterns – to get to the pleasure.  The pleasure being any number of activities we personally enjoy.

Over the course of the past couple of years, I have decided to embark on a personal wellness journey.  I decided to run a marathon a couple of years ago and that felt like a way for me to get “healthy”.  I considered myself at the time to be in the best shape of my life.  Little did I know, the thing that I was relying on for my “fitness” was negatively affecting my “wellness”.  A few short weeks after I completed my marathon I discovered, with much joy, that I was pregnant with my second child.  So here I was, in the “best” shape of my life and now ready to face my pregnancy head on.  Much to my surprise, just a few weeks into my pregnancy I started experiencing excruciating pain in my lower back.  I would get sharp shooting pains almost every time I took a step.  My OB prescribed physical therapy and I started sessions as soon as possible.  It turns out, all of my running with little attention to my form (let’s face it, running for 5 1/2 hours is hard enough without having to think about form) coupled with the hormone relaxin coursing through my body to get me ready for childbirth had led to an incredible amount of pelvic instability.  I continued physical therapy throughout my pregnancy and was able to remain relatively pain free for the duration.  After the birth of my darling Cooper in July of 2013 I found myself back at work just six weeks later.  With two little ones at home and a busy studio, I had very little time to dedicate to myself and my recovery post-pregnancy.

In February, I decided I was ready to tackle my next project: the CoreAlign®.  I signed up for my first weekend of training and just knew I was going to love learning something new.  I was right.  I LOVE the CoreAlign®.  I also learned in that weekend that the body I thought I had so much control over, was not as organized as I once thought.  I struggled to figure out my shoulder stability, and my lower back is a place I no longer had any awareness of.  I am still working hard to figure out how to correct some of these faulty movement patterns.  What I have realized during this process is this:  I had been thinking of my job as teaching “fitness”.  I embodied this by mastering the exercises without mastering the proper movement patterns required to do these exercises efficiently.  I now realize, movement – any movement – has to be done with proper attention to form and bio-mechanics to be truly beneficial.  It is now my goal to use many modalities (i.e. Pilates, CoreAlign®, yoga, etc.) to achieve wellness.  Or, as Ann would say, to preserve my shelf life.  We only get one shot with these bodies we have been given.  I want mine to take me places, not hold me back from my life.

I have decided that Balance Through Movement will be just that.  A place where people can come to achieve balance in their bodies.  I am working to be the bridge that is so desperately needed between the realms of physical therapy and exercise.  The place where we are no longer working on any one specific issue or injury, but the integration of the total body to achieve the ability to move through world in a functional way.  We will be a “movement studio”.  I invite you to come and learn to move.  Learn to use the body you have been gifted to take you to places you never dreamed you would be able to go.

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