Pilates is a diverse movement system that provides a unique combination of strength, stretch, flow, concentration and energy. Such a diverse set of tools in the wellness toolbox makes Pilates especially beneficial for people facing long-term injuries, arthritis, chronic headaches and pain, and systemic challenges such as auto-immune disorders. One of the motivators to deepen my own Pilates practice came with a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s Disease, an autoimmune disorder that the compromises the all-important thyroid. Low energy, inflammation that aggravates my joints, as well as poor circulation are symptoms that I face time-to-time and manage with Pilates, diet and meditative practices.
Pilates offers a flexible approach to help those of us who find our bodies stiff, experiencing pain moving from one part of the body to another, or facing a mental fog of sorts that can come with ongoing health hurdles. We can gently open the body, work around painful joints, and identify in the moment ways movement feels good in our bodies.
On days when I’m feeling particularly run down, I turn to parts of the repertoire on the Reformer that boost my heart rate and energize me. On days I feel achy, I turn to more stretching and flowing movements on the Cadillac. And always I find a focused breath helps me clear my mind and distracts me from negative thinking.
And that wide array of movement options and mind-body connection is reflected back to me when I hear students describe how they feel transformed at the end of their sessions: more stretched, aligned, powerful, focused, relaxed even, or just plain happier.
Through Pilates we can find the right combination of movement elixir to treat what ails us and celebrate the many small and big ways our bodies are serving us every day despite ongoing health challenges. Move forward.