Latest Review: Everything has changed for the better since I met Tara and began pilates, which has been my first experience with it. The positive effects on my body and mind are exceptional, and it’s been more impactful than the other exercise I do. In fact, pilates informs the stuff I do in the gym. I’ve actually reduced the heaviness of weights, but with much better form and mindfulness, I am getting a better workout with less soreness, which I used to think was great (post-gym pain). Same for stair stepper, which was trashing my hips until Tara showed me how to step correctly. I’ve decreased both the speed and time on the stair stepper, but feel stronger and more energized after doing it. The other day in the gym after I got off the stair stepper someone said to me, “You are a machine. I can’t do that for 2 minutes.” But the old boost I would have gotten to my ego didn’t happen. The comment surprised me and prompted me to consider what I want to get out of that activity, and it is not for people to notice me or a feeling that I came off it completely spent. It is interesting to me that my old objectives for exercise have changed a lot and quickly. How I define fitness is morphing away from others’ definitions.to my own. I want to generate and store energy ; I don’t want to deplete myself by working out until I feel sick or come away feeling bad about myself for not running fast like runners I pass on the trail.
So this is what is most astounding: the effect pilates has on my mind and spirit. I walk out of a session feeling a foot taller and much healthier. I am more mindful, and things that would normally trigger a reaction now don’t bother me. And I now can really notice it when my posture or activities are hurting my back or neck, and I can stop doing them. I used to believe “no pain, no gain”. One day in a session I realized that I have believed this about every aspect of my life . But is it true? Does something have to hurt to be worthwhile or effective? Tara ensures I avoid pain in a session (even when I want to work “harder” or say pain is “ok”) because there is muscle memory, so to speak, and training our brains to normalize activity-induced pain is counterproductive. Often after a session, my back feels better than it has in my whole life. Sometimes, it doesn’t, and that is okay, too, because it will change again.
Tara is much wiser than her years, and seemed to very quickly intuit how my body works as well as my mind. She can always read what is going on with me, and I bet more clearly than I can. Her questions and comments often make me laugh, and reflect on them afterward. Once when I commented that my throat and esophagus were sore from a leg exercise (“What’s my chest got to do with it?”, I demanded), Tara responded with a mischievous chuckle, “What’s my heart got to do with it?”
That is now something I ask myself a lot.
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