This Valentine’s I want to talk to you about loving your body through the practice of Pilates. For me Pilates has been an utter saviour for myself both mentally and physically since I first engaged in this exercise method in 2001.
Originally, I engaged in Pilates as it was the latest “hot” workout! What I didn’t realise the endless benefits to be gained.
I wasn’t fortunate enough to go through my teens and 20’s in the “Era Of Wellness.” Getting together with a friend on the weekends was getting sozzled followed by a drive through of a burger joint in Australia. Yes we surfed, engaged in a ton of sport and “played” in the great outdoors, however, drink was very much a part of our existence.
The short-term effects of partying and eating was a love hate relationship with my body, which eventually turned into self-hatred in my late 20’s. Hatred for the way my body was physically and hatred for the lack of control I had over my bad habits. It was an endless cycle- one which I couldn’t seem to remove myself from.
Now I’m not saying I was unfit. On the contrary, I used to pound those pavements with endless running and lifting heavy almost every day. Now we have an over muscular, not so functional, bloated, unhappy body! Not good.
Come 2001 I decided to not only try Pilates but sign up for a level three mat course! On my first few days I thought “…what the hell have I done! This is so slow and boring.” By week three I was hooked. I started to get the mind body connection. I started to feel and use muscles I had never Isolated and engaged before. My bulk began to disappear and my “new-found love” slowly started to have a mental effect on how I felt about myself and my body. It gave me the chance to slow down, to breathe correctly, to think deeply about myself, to reflect on where I wanted be in my life. Slowly but surely I began to respect my body. I can honestly say without the saying sounding clichéd, that Pilates truly was my therapy, and still is to this day.
As I have got more involved in my practice I understand my body intrinsically and have learnt to use it in a functional, healthy way. My tight bulky muscles are longer yet still strong, my posture has greatly improved, my body is more balanced and my core strength has remained strong despite the fact I have three children.
Pilates is still my time for me and an opportunity to reflect. We are not being selfish or self-indulgent by putting time aside for ourselves, we are merely devoting ourselves to the self-care, self-love and respect our body deserves.
I’m not saying I still don’t love a red wine or a few, but what I have now realised I can now balance my life with fun, children, running a business and scheduling time in my diary to help me love myself and my body.
This Valentine’s I hope you all find the time to shower your nearest and dearest, yourself and your bodies with love in equal measure.