A Love Letter to Pilates
A Love Letter to Pilates
by Amy Jones
My pilates journey, like many, began through injury.
I was training with the Queensland Academy of Sport water polo squad in Brisbane. I was a tall, gangly teen who grew way too fast and as a result, found myself constantly injured and on the physio table. One of my coaches had the foresight to enrol me in pilates classes as a form of rehabilitation and injury management and so from the age of 16, every time I found my body falling apart from the rigours of an elite level contact sport, I would return to the mat or the reformer and piece myself back together again.
Never did pilates play such a pivotal role in my sporting career as when, 6 months out from the 2008 Beijing Olympics, I suffered multiple broken ribs and a punctured lung. Racing the clock, I spent hours each day in the physio rooms either on the table receiving treatment or on the mat doing pilates. That story ended happily with an Olympic medal, but it wasn’t the last time that pilates would play a very significant role in my life.
Six years on and feeling invincible, I found myself newly married and newly pregnant. I was fit and active and doing modified HIIT and circuit training until I was 38 weeks. I believed that the fitter I was going into birth, the better my body would cope on the other side. Unfortunately it wasn’t the case for me. Nothing I did beforehand could have prepared me for a very complicated birth that left my body, once again, falling apart. A few months in and I could barely pick my baby up without intense back and hip pain, so returning to most of my favourite high-impact and high-intensity forms of exercise wasn’t even an option. Welcome back pilates to once again save the day!
After only a few weeks of regular classes my pain had reduced by at least 75% and my posture was hugely improved despite long days and nights of breastfeeding. I felt stronger within myself. This time, I decided that pilates wouldn’t play a cameo role any longer in my life and that it needed to become my staple. I cannot recommend pilates highly enough to anyone, but especially women pre and post-birth. It’s easy to dismiss the life-altering changes that occur in our bodies when we grow and birth a baby because for the most part, they all happen so naturally. The fact is that while our bodies might never be the same again, we have the opportunity to build a stronger and healthier body than every before.
I am a huge fan of activity and I believe that there is a place for all forms of movement in our lives but for me, there will always be room for pilates. I have also completed my teacher training and love giving people the gift that pilates continues to give me; a body that is now pain-free, stronger and more resilient than ever before.