Kathy’s Pilates Challenge: Working with aches, not against them

It doesn't take much to prompt a Pilates convert into a conversation on how they embarked on their own journey of flexibility and fitness.

It doesn’t take much to prompt a Pilates convert into a conversation on how they embarked on their own journey of flexibility and fitness, I realized when hunkered down in NeuMovement’s waiting room.

With a little prodding some of their clients explained they got there as an evolution of the workouts already embarked on. Others used it as a means to get fit, when they weren’t already.

Most, however, talked about how it helped them take control of their aches and pains.

It was hard to imagine some of them having any. Young or older, the women I saw moved like two-legged gazelles, a far cry from the cubicle lurch I’ve developed over the years.

Even ebullient studio co-owner Lara Yanik found her way to Pilates via pain.

“I had a shoulder injury before I started Pilates,” said Lara, who’s now 27.

“I was living in North Van, and my doctor sent me to Pilates. It helped  to decrease stress, improved my posture, my overall balance and well being.”

Realizing the benefits she’d experienced in the Lower Mainland, Lara took Pilates with her when she moved home to the Interior seven years ago. She opened her first studio in Salmon Arm, and after it sold opened two more—one in Vernon, and the other in Kelowna—finding widespread support in the process.

Just a few lessons into this challenge, it’s not hard to figure out why it’s so popular. So far I’ve found it to be a solid workout that offers the type of attention I’ve lacked in the past.

Generally speaking, complaining about aches and pains is not something I want to do, but there comes a point in every activity I’ve done, when the shooting pains in my knee can’t be ignored.

Instead of whining—as I’d like to—I’d  fudge movements, or half-ass my way through a class, make a joke or take a water break. Then I’d go and treat my throbbing limb with some chocolate, as recompense for torture.

This cycle has yet to be triggered at NeuMovement, though. Courtesy of the earlier physio session, my aches are already mapped out, and instructors were cognizant of them as they moved me through the lessons. When I hurt, Plan B is delivered.

“For me, it’s proactive. You’re getting top quality trainers, a physiotherapist overseeing your workout and four people maximum sharing in your class,” said Lara. “You’re getting so much out of that hour. You can’t put a value on your  body.”

Value is clear, but I’ve yet to lead the type of life where cost isn’t a concern. Pilates isn’t for every budget.

Like any 30-something, I’m laden with bills and have a healthy desire to consume. New boots, new sweaters and this season, sunglasses come to mind as “must have” expenses in the season ahead.

I said as much to Lara who, paused briefly and then outlined why she decided to make the investment years ago.

“I paid for it myself when I started at 18. At first, I was ”whoa.’ Then I compared it to other exercises and realized what I got, was so worth it,” she said.

“We need to take care of this vehicle that’s travelling us through our life. It’s a source of huge happiness when you are living the best you can and you’re contributing to yourself, working with yourself and giving yourself that nurturing.”

It’s an idea that’s definitely gaining traction in each class I take.

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