Pilates and my Stiff Neck

This is the story of how I happened onto Pilates in the first place, and you’d think that it would actually be as titled above, first and foremost because I had developed a stiff, tense neck.
But, no.

As a working actress I had been cast in a new play. When I saw my costume I was terrified. Baring my arms and midriff in tight black vinyl was surely going to challenge my confidence on stage, so a friend suggested I abandon my Tae-Bo videos and check out a Pilates class.
Ok, it’s like yoga right?
Uhm, no.

I enrolled in a 6 week Beginning Mat class and did my homework exercises every day. I am very diligent student and at first we were given just 5 exercises which took almost no time at all to complete. I soon discovered that I really liked this Pilates stuff. It was fun, challenging and I even made some new friends in my class. After our initial 6 weeks we were told we could move to the next level class: Intermediate.

Meanwhile, back to my stiff neck…
A friend referred me to her Chiropractor and I had been going as much as I could given that his office was about a 45 minute drive from my house. It made me nervous when he would “adjust” my neck and although I did feel better afterwards, my mind kept speaking in a tiny voice that this couldn’t possibly be the answer. I’d started my Pilates classes and after a few weeks passed I suddenly realized that my neck felt much better. I was starting to make the connection between better posture and the relief I felt in my neck, well my whole back really.

The Pilates exercises were something that I could do to help myself.
It felt vigorous, elegant and strong instead of awkward and scary like the chiropractic treatments. I was in my mid late-twenties at the time and didn’t want to feel like an invalid that needed to be ‘fixed.’ I loved Pilates for putting me charge of how my body felt every day. I learned that I could do something about my neck stiffness and maintain it – who’d have thought?
I love Pilates for empowering me to care for my body.

Thank you to Andrea Maida, Pilates studio owner, Pilates Instructor, and Pilates Blogger at Pilates Andrea in Solana Beach, California.

Kathi Ross-Nash Loves Pilates!

What Pilates is to me…
I have no words that can express what this work means to me. It means everything. It is what I believe in for myself, my family, for everyone. I believed in it so much that I refused to allow my son to lift; he could only use the method, his entire high school football career. He broke all the records he could and today is the starting running back at The University of Chicago, for the third year.
It keeps me whole, both body and mind. The work brings clarity to the chaos of life. I become at total peace the moment I begin to move through the ritual of my mat or reformer. I know that I can overcome challenges in life as I have overcome them in the work. I know I will have an hour of freedom from the stress the world has put on me the moment my workout begins. I feel alive as the blood rushes through my veins, cleaning me from the inside.
Pilates sets me free and brings me to the present moment. I am blessed enough to share this with my students and the lovely teachers who honor me to share their journey in this work when they train with me. Pilates fulfills my passion for movement and a healthier life. Pilates makes me whole.

Thank you to Kathryn Ross-Nash, Pilates studio owner and Pilates Instructor at American Body Tech in Allendale, New Jersey.



Introducing…Pilates Love Stories

I remember falling in love with Pilates.  For me I was most aware of my bursting heart when I was amongst my beloved teachers and colleagues.  Attending conferences and workshops, and taking lessons was the expression of that love.  I would come home walking on clouds, overjoyed by what I’d experienced.  Over time, life happened.  With the inevitable changes that occurred, and with my inability to travel, my love became internalized.  As my personal Pilates practice developed and changed with the ebbs and flows of my life, my love of Pilates became much more personal.  While I encourage each and every person to partake of lots and lots of training when it comes to Pilates, I encourage developing a personal relationship with the work in equal parts.  There is a particular buzz that comes from being in the presence of others who share our enthusiasm and passion.  But there is also a danger of losing ourselves in that thrilling experience.  It is important to take time with the work of Pilates, because to understand the depths of the method is to understand oneself.  Many of my teachers told me that certification is only the beginning.  Of course they were correct.  I am eternally grateful for the foundation that my Pilates training gave me, I have so many individual people to thank for that experience.  And now, as I go through my days apart from all those people, and as I remember what they told me many times over, I realize every day how the work is continually blossoming in my life.

I have created this cyber-space for sharing Pilates love stories.  This idea came about when I was reading the biography of Joe Pilates.  Upon completing the pages that chronicled his life, I was left feeling a considerable amount of sadness at the frustrations that Joe Pilates experienced with respect to the aspirations he had for his work.  I wanted to reach through time from the confines of my life in the here and now, to the confines of his in the there and then, and give him a giant congratulatory hug.  Today, we are so lucky to have his work.  I created this space with the idea that celebrating that luck and expressing our love and gratitude will serve to expand upon that good fortune.

I’m celebrating this Valentine’s Day by launching what I hope will be the start of a collection of Pilates Love Stories to be viewed in cyberspace by anybody and everybody.  I’ll add stories as they are submitted…I’m hoping to soon be inundated, because I can’t think of a better thing than to be surrounded by the positive effects to of the work that I so revere.

Now you are invited to share a story.  Please please please, share a story.  Tell your friends, colleagues, clients, and teachers, to share their Pilates love stories.  I know that everybody who has practiced Pilates for any considerable length of time has one.  Share it, so that others can bask in the light of Pilates.  So that they can be inspired and motivated to find that same love within themselves.

Think of it as a valentine addressed to Joe Pilates…