With my son about to turn 2, I've been thinking a lot about the incredible journey my body has been on these last 3 years. I've also been thinking about how absolutely thankful I am that Pilates has been a part of my life through it all.
I got pregnant about 2 months after I started teaching Pilates. I recall a lot of sweaty, green classes where I was afraid to open my mouth :-( And then I was moving studios- ripping up old carpet, putting down laminate flooring on my hands and knees. A few months later I developed knee problems because of the extra weight, and then pelvic pain near the end (pretty normal when a head is jammed in your pelvis!). Even still, I was able to teach classes up until a week before my son was born. Then, I began practicing Pilates again in my hospital bed about 10 days later.*
Pregnancy is hard work in so many ways. Giving birth is like running a marathon. Breastfeeding is killer for the shoulders. Now, carting my toddler around is pretty tough. Isn't it amazing how we can adapt to new situations? I remember how heavy he felt when I had to hold him in my arms and walk around the living room to get him to sleep at 3 months. Now he's over 30 lbs! I can carry him for ages now- and I still don't know how. Mothers are some of the strongest people in the world.
It's incredible how much you can modify Pilates for every situation. Joseph himself taught people who were bedridden- that's how the Cadillac Reformer machine was born. The most basic of all exercises is simply to engage your core muscles. If you can do that, then you can do it for the rest of your life in almost every situation. That's what I did in that hospital bed- squeeze my core. And it felt great to connect to those muscles again.
People see me walking with my son on my back in his carrier and they ask me "Doesn't that hurt your back?" I simply smile a little to myself and say "Nope, not at all!" And then I squeeze my core, make sure my shoulders are back and down, and keep on walking.
*Please make sure you get the assistance of a qualified instructor if you are pregnant and practicing Pilates.
Diane Archer, Pilates Instructor from the UK now living back in Canada. Blog of tips, thoughts, home challenges.