It's hard to believe that 12 years have passed, almost to the day, since Katy first started Pilates with me. Her Mum had already been doing Pilates for just over 6 months and was seeing great results. She wanted to ensure that Katy improved her posture and reduced her back pain at a young age, so Katy didn't have to deal with these issues, throughout life, as she had. Katy began her Pilates journey in her early twenties and Pilates has become a way of life for her now. Having suffered a fall down some stairs during her school years, Katy was left with back pain which had stopped her from participating in some sporting activities and she wondered if she could improve her posture. She also suffered debilitating foot cramps that came on unexpectedly and were extremely painful. Katy has a degree of hypermobility in her joints meaning they have a large range of movement. Many hypermobile people have poor posture because they tend to lock into or "hang off" their joints resulting in weak postural muscles, making it difficult for them to maintain good posture. Katy was struggling with this, but having youth on her side and a strong desire to make changes, it wasn't long before her back pain was under control, her posture was greatly improved and she learned to manage her foot cramps. I asked Katy to reflect on her past 12 years of Pilates and look back at how Pilates has changed her life in ways, she hadn't thought possible. So let's hear from Katy:
Share some thoughts on how you've grown & changed because of Pilates
Pilates has given me new confidence and strength. I don’t think I realised just how much I was neglecting my body before I started classes with Joanne. I didn’t realise my posture was so poor, or that I could implement small changes to my routine that could significantly impact my day to day life. I was having to avoid certain sports, activities, footwear, all because of a back injury I believed I had to accept and horrible foot cramps I believed I just had to live with. Starting Pilates helped me to realise that I didn’t need to avoid these things, but could take more control over my body and how it worked. Whilst Pilates can be a workout, it is also very relaxing. It has provided me with a time in my week where I focus just on self-care and releasing stress from my body after a busy week.
What are you most proud of about yourself after working with me for 12 years?
I’m proud of how much my body has changed over the 12 years. I have gone from someone who really avoided a lot of activities because I didn’t think I had the strength or wasn’t athletic enough, to someone who enjoys running and being active. I am also proud that I have not only committed to attending classes, even though life is busy and chaotic at times, but have also prioritised Pilates at home and to continue practicing the exercises Joanne has taught me throughout the week. This commitment has been very rewarding and has created a more confident version of me. It is most definitely worth it!
What have you overcome that wouldn't have if you hadn't done Pilates?
There are two main hurdles that spring to mind. I sustained an injury in my lower back when I was a teenager. It flared up often and stopped me from being able to play tennis. When I first met Joanne, she took the time to really find out the source of my back problem, so that she could create an exercise plan that would make the most impact over time. It didn’t take long before I started to notice that I could complete tasks that would have previously caused me discomfort. I strongly believe that I would still be trying to manage this problem 12 years on without Pilates. My back is now pain-free, which has made such a difference and if it does flare up, I have tools I can use to build that strength back up again.
The second problem that I faced was in my feet. An issue I had seen many others about and just had not been able to solve. I was experiencing cramps at least twice a week. They were so painful and caused me great anxiety because I never knew when I would have the next cramp. Sometimes my feet would cramp when I was swimming, in a shopping centre, wearing certain shoes, basically any time. Working with Joanne, I have managed to strengthen my feet to the point that I now have one cramp every 9-12 months or so. When my foot does cramp, it is less severe. I am also more aware of my foot muscles and how they work, so I can feel a cramp coming on and can stretch my foot using techniques from Pilates to try and prevent the cramp from occurring. The great thing about working with Joanne, is that she explains why your body is reacting the way that it is. Having this understanding is such an important key to knowing how to move forward.
What have you accomplished now, that you wouldn't have accomplished if you hadn't done Pilates?
If I hadn’t started Pilates, I think I would still be avoiding tasks in my life that I thought would cause flare-ups in my back or cramps in my feet. I have realised that this is no way to live your life. I am now a much more active person. I love exercising! Pilates has really helped my confidence in general.
What benefits have you found from using JS Mind Body Pilates, my Online Pilates Studio?
The Online Pilates Studio is great if you are busy and can’t get to a class, are traveling, or in between sessions with Joanne. I have used the online studio for about 6 months now and it has been such a great tool for me. It is a great way to build on your skills in a guided way. I have used the online studio when I haven’t been able to attend lessons in person. Having the guided videos has helped me to make sure that I am completing each activity properly and using the appropriate equipment. I have found the different levels really helpful, as I can tailor each session I do, depending on my areas of need. Joanne has also guided me via email and helped me to target areas of specific concern. I have found the online tool especially helpful while I have been overseas. Whilst away, I have injured my knee. This has been significantly impacting my ability to travel and see new things. Whilst being here, Joanne has created a schedule, using the online videos for me to follow. I have been using this sequence of videos most days and have seen significant improvements and benefits in a short period of time. I highly recommend the online Studio as a way to stay on track with your Pilates schedule, making sure you are maintaining the correct technique in order to achieve the best results. If you would like to follow JS Mind Body Pilates Online too, take the free 10 day trial now to start your training. Alternatively, contact Joanne at [email protected] to discuss your individual needs.
It's been an absolute pleasure to assist you on your Pilates journey these last 12 years Katy and see you take control of your own health and fitness. It is so fortunate that your Mum had the foresight and wisdom to suggest you start Pilates at a young age, as that has had such a positive impact on your life in so many ways. Knowing you have the Pilates skills you need to manage any flare-ups of back pain, foot cramps or any other issue that arises is an empowering feeling, which you've discovered first hand. As you said, you committed to your Pilates practice for 12 years despite all of life's challenges and you should be very proud of yourself for this. It's been wonderful to see you participate in so many activities, including running, that you previously believed were unavailable to you. Your confidence has grown in your physical skills which has filtered out into all aspects of your life and I'm looking forward to seeing everything you will achieve in the future!
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