Joseph Pilates wrote in his book, Pilates’ Return to Life Through Contrology, Contrology develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind, and elevates the spirit. What more could you ask for with your daily training? To me, it is a powerful and a personal approach to my daily wellness. But, what happens when injury interrupts? Recently, my daily fitness and Pilates instruction has been challenged by a recurring overuse injury (Piriformis Syndrome)—reminding me to stay humble and true to my own practice. Joseph Pilates also wrote, (However) as we mature, we find ourselves living in bodies not always complimentary to our ego. Oh my Joseph, you are so right! The throbbing pain deep inside my right gluteal muscle (radiating to my low back and down my right leg) not only challenges my range of motion, but my ego–I can hear myself yelling—“No I am not getting old–the gray hair I just had colored and face cream I just researched is just as poignant as this pain!!” Last week, I moved with fluidity throughout my own practice; unfortunately, this week along with a wince, a deep lateral breath and plenty of stretching between exercises, I slowly work through an entire block with a painful reminder that I no longer have that younger body free of injury. I can feel the impact as I move–my mind picking up the imbalance as my body moves with choppy interruptions caused by the annoying inflammed muscle–I feel as though I have lost the control over my own body, and then feel my posture wilt. My spirit is crushed along with my ego. I take a deep breath and try not to allow my negativity to consume me. My body is sending a very loud message…SLOW DOWN…pay attention your body–your more mature body…now that is very humbling to a mover and a fitness fiend.
This body of mine takes more knowledge, more awareness, more concentration in order to regain balance, precision, fluidity and control. I turn to my BASI book for some more guidance and review my scribbled notes and see the words, “We cannot have harmony without efficiency”. I pause. Humbled again. Thinking of the impact the pain in my rear (literally) has had on my daily life, my instruction, my relationship with my kids–even my play with our little puppy. I need to give to myself just as much as I give to my clients.
This week I have been humbled–reminded that my body is a powerful machine that needs daily maintenance. My Pilates practice has been such a blessing–the perfect prescription for living with a chronic issue such as Piriformis Syndrome. I cannot imagine dealing with this syndrome without my daily dose of contrology. Overuse injuries may have become a part of my thirties, but I challenge them to stop me from moving with fluidity into my forties and beyond.
There is something very powerful about being humbled—I believe it has heightened my awareness as an instructor (I am much more empathetic to clients in pain), and keeps me grounded when I try to flirt with a long run without a long stretch to match. Am I getting older? Yes, but with Pilates I am going to challenge my physical maturity. I will still fight the gray hair as well and remember my SPF and moisturizer–but the power of movement with Pilates is my proactive approach to maintaining my body, mind and spirit. Off to perform my own practice–stretch (especially all of my posterior muscles)–and slow down and accept and respect the body that has given me so much so that I can give back to my family, friends and clients.