Gain patience and peace with Pilates
One thing I have been doing regularly for years is Pilates. During my first pregnancy a few years back, I had a bad neck and sore back and I was advised to go and do some physiotherapy-based Pilates, because I couldn’t take painkillers.
It probably should have been the first suggestion, not the second, because it really worked, and has managed to keep my body from falling apart ever since.
While I really have seen great physical results with Pilates, the BEST thing about practicing it is that my mind naturally switches off.
A whole hour of not thinking! This is an occurrence that never otherwise happens. And I need it!
I am sure the decrease in stress I feel during that hour alters my gut health, mental health and generally helps me utilise my brain better.
It also gives me more patience with my children.
I was therefore not surprised when I met my amazing teacher Emily Lamb of Pilates for a Purpose, and found out that she encourages her clients to think of Pilates as their ‘me time’.
This is how I had subconsciously been seeing it all along.
Emily has become a wonderful friend and support to me during my sessions. She is a bundle of warm energy, and a gentle spirit, always checking in and asking how things are going with me and the kids. Her studio is a sanctuary for me and a constant in my life. No matter what is happening I can always go there, switch my mind off and strengthen and lengthen. It makes me truly grateful.
So Emily, how did you come to think of Pilates as ‘me time’?
Pilates has always been a positive escape for me. I love the focus it requires if you want to achieve great results. It means that I have to push everything else aside and focus purely on what I am doing for that time. Becoming a mum has meant I rely on it a lot as well for the physical benefits but also the emotional and mental.
Tell me what you think about Pilates as a holistic health tool
They call it a mind/body workout with good reason. You have to focus on so much with each exercise – what to engage, what not to engage, alignment, balance and breath. It requires a healthy amount of discipline from the mind as well as the body. How you feel at the end can have a really positive effect on your emotions.
What can Pilates do for those suffering from chronic health issues?
Pilates is a very gentle form of exercise. It lengthens as well as strengthens muscles and has a huge emphasis on keeping the body aligned. As someone who has suffered with chronic pain, I am amazed at the impact strength and length can have on the body. Mentally, it is empowering for an individual to be able to help the body cope better with various issues. Movement of the body also has wonderful benefits on the inside as well as the outside.
How did you come to fall in love with Pilates?
I had chronic jaw and back pain when I was younger (which started around grade three). It was getting so severe that I was missing ridiculous amounts of school, and it was affecting what I could and could not do. My physio recommended Pilates when I was 12, and I never looked back.
I had the most amazing teacher that I stayed with for 13 years – until I studied Pilates myself – and my body responded so well to the method.
What changes have you seen in your own health over the years from doing Pilates?
It means the chronic pain no longer controls what I do. I still get a sore back and I am aware of my jaw, but I can keep it under control and relieve it easily. I am so much stronger and have a much wider range of motion. I don’t know how I would have coped with pregnancy if I didn’t have Pilates. My posture has also changed dramatically, compared to when my back was really bad. I always get asked if I am a dancer because of my posture (which I am definitely not!).
What changes have you seen in your clients’ health?
The physical changes are amazing! It’s not just about the toning and muscle definition – so much deeper than this. They notice pain disappearing, range of movement increasing, areas like shoulders relaxing and so much more. They also comment on the awareness they build – when at work they remember to relax their shoulders, or correct their posture. They remember to engage their core when moving things or picking up children. I love that Pilates is giving them tools and an awareness that they can use outside the studio in their daily lives.
I see your studio as a sanctuary, is that how you see it?
I love that! And yes I absolutely agree. It is an incredible community and I love that our clients look forward to that hour in which they can invest in their body. I 100% love being in that room with everyone. My job is far too enjoyable!
What other therapies/diet/lifestyle changes do you find work for you?
I love a bit of yoga. And being outdoors is the best! Hiking/walking, kayaking, beach – anything with fresh air and space. And preferably no phone service. In terms of food – sugar free, natural and balanced. The sugar free was a game changer – I couldn’t believe how much more energy I gained. I got sick less and filled up on smaller amounts because my body recognised what was going in. I used the book Sweet Poison by David Gillespie but there are heaps of awesome ones out there. I also love Jessica Sepel, of the JSHealth blog. She has great recipes.
How important do you think it is for people to look after themselves in a holistic way?
So important! I think as humans we can so easily go to the extreme. Go all out in one area, one part of the body, a specific diet or something – but our bodies need a balance and so do our minds.
Moving the body is so important – it’s what it was created to do.
But we also need to remember the parts we can’t see, such as that other hidden treasure – our mind. Our lives get so consumed with the craziness of life and technology. Learning to switch off and slow down is vital these days. Also trying to do one thing at a time really well rather than always aiming for one thousand things.
Tell me about your broader vision for your business, which has recently rebranded as Pilates for a Purpose…
I have always wanted my business to be about more than just myself and making money. I wanted it to have a greater impact. I also didn’t want to just fundraise a couple of times a year. I wanted my daily living to impact others daily lives.
So, each month we put money into our P4P campaign – this campaign is with Destiny Rescue who save underage children from the sex trade. I am also an ambassador for Thankyou©. We give away their products so clients can try them out and see what is available which supports the work they are doing.
Since this was our first year of business I really wanted to completely change the life of one person. As of September we raised over $1,500, which is enough to rescue one girl from the sex-trade. It makes me SUPER pumped for next year!
How do you balance the challenges of being a pregnant mum and running a business like this?
It’s hard! But so worth it. My priority is being a wife and a mummy and that guides my decisions, but I love that I am able to walk down my stairs to my studio and do something for me that I am really passionate about.
I feel this refreshes me and reminds me of who I am as an individual too.
I have an amazing husband who holds the fort while I teach, mostly at night, which means that I can really enjoy and cherish my time in the studio and give my clients 100%. I look forward to being able to give the business more, but right now I just teach mostly at night or Saturdays. I try not to work when my daughter is around – that’s our time. I’m interested to see how I go with a newborn and a toddler … bring on 2018!
Please visit Pilates for a Purpose and find out more about this beautiful little Bayside business.
Featured image: Britt Spring Photography
Some of the things I think about holistic health and stuff
Some snapshots of my journey through my own health challenges
“I believe that people can change their lives, circumstances and nothing short of themselves as people through working on their health in a holistic way.”