When Heather walked in the door over a year ago, Aspire Pilates Center lit up. She was energetic, enthusiastic, open minded, and ready to explore the wonderful world of Pilates. She loved high performance training and had spent many years enjoying fitness. She had explored everything from skiing, to kickboxing, to hard core, early morning, baby boot camp classes. She loved the rush of working out and her enthusiasm was infectious.
Just as with all new clients that come to Aspire, we started out slowly and carefully with Heather, laying a solid foundation to strengthen muscles underutilized in the body.She looked fit and had more strength than the average person walking in the front door, but needed improvement with her flexibility and balance.She had also developed some compensation patterns from her work outs and daily life that manifested in neck and lower back pain.
Heather was patient as we began unraveling old habits and her back pain went away.We worked a bit more to strengthen new body mechanics and her neck pain went away. She became graceful, well aligned, strong and took each challenge that was thrown at her to the next level.She soon began doing the tricky type of exercises that we see flashy characters doing in Pilates videos or on TV.
Then one day, Heather walked into the studio with a strong limp, labored movement and a panicked look on her face.I learned that this active mother of four had been battling an autoimmune condition for some time that had profound effects on her health. The illness affected the sensation in her fingers and toes and her body would severely stiffen and weaken, which assaulted her ability to walk normally.She'd have to "Start back at square one and recover externally, internally, mentally and physically", says Heather.It was an awful cycle that would manifest at important times of stress and leave her emotionally and physically drained for months.
The beauty of Pilates is that when it is taught well, it is an exercise form that is truly accessible to everyone.So what if we couldn't do her usual fancy, circus- like tricks during these times when the illness showed itself?We worked slowly and carefully, focused on her alignment, her strength, flexibility and balance in ways that were accessible to where she was on those bad days.
"No matter how bad a day is or how rough a week it has been... going to Aspire Pilates Center makes me walk out revived and ready to take on what is next." - Heather S.
Working carefully through Heather's bad days, her recent episodes have passed in days or weeks instead of months. Even when not feeling her best, she feels empowered that she is stronger and more coordinated, so doesn't need to fear her labored gait or "how bad it could get".She is now partnered with her body, rather than trapped as a victim of its current challenges.
"There is always a challenge to overcome and that feeling of accomplishment is worth more than words can say!!" - Heather S.
Nowadays, Heather bounds effortlessly from one piece of Pilates equipment to the next and is a force to be reckoned with.Her muscles are long and powerful, she is pain free, and ran a mini-marathon this year.And Tonya now has to actually warm up to demonstrate her exercises because of the difficulty of her program!Whether it's putting an end to her pain so that she can care for her children, calming her body during times of crises, or training for her next "Muddy Buddy" race, Heather really knows how to do it.