After many years of long distance running and competitive amateur ballroom dancing, I searched for an activity that was gentle but challenging. I embarked on a Yoga practice, enjoying the stretching, relaxation, and mind-body connection characteristic of yoga. After sampling various styles of Yoga, I became certified in Hatha Yoga in 2009.
Despite my strong interest in Yoga, I felt like something was missing but could not accurately describe what it was. I started to notice a gradual weakening of my core muscles and increasing instability of my ankles, knees, hips and shoulders. This struck me as odd because I felt that as a runner, ballroom dancer and yoga practitioner, I should not have these imbalances and should be fairly “strong.”
Although I had heard of Pilates, I had never experienced it nor did I know what it consisted of. In 2012, I wandered into a local Pilates studio in Pensacola, Florida, where I was living at the time. After my first mat and reformer class, I was hooked. The reformer enabled me to feel my core muscles, accentuated by the exercises performed on the mat and the various signature Pilates apparatuses such as the chair and ladder barrel and Cadillac.
Pilates not only improved my posture, but my balance and flexibility. My ballroom dancing became more coordinated as a result of Pilates. In 2014, I became a Certified Pilates Mat and Equipment instructor, under the tutelage of Barbara Bruni at Core Pilates in Pensacola, Florida.
Pilates is about moving intelligently, with a heightened mind-body awareness, control, precision, and a connection to the center—the Powerhouse. I apply Joseph Pilates principles not only in the weight room and dance floor, but in all aspects of my life. For example, when I am standing in line at the grocery store, I am always in tune with my posture and making small “micro-corrections” internally throughout the day. When I am driving, I am thinking about lengthening my spine and keeping my pelvis in neutral position. When I am walking, my core is always engaged and active and shoulders are down.
Pilates is an excellent addition to any exercise activity, whether it is swimming, running, cycling, dancing, golfing, or strength training. People from all ages and fitness levels can benefit from Pilates, especially teenagers, who are at risk for poor posture due to texting. My mission is to educate the population about Joseph Pilates and motivate them to try it out.