I have to admit, it took some time to realize I was using my yoga experience to measure my progress in Pilates. There was one major obstacle, a significant low back injury. Still, I pressed on and was surprised when Pilates still hurt well into my second year.
It took me awhile to see I was still carrying my “feel good” yoga vibe into Pilates. Yoga feels good. The more yoga you do, the better you feel. I know I’m overstating the obvious, but Pilates works differently.
Pilates doesn’t always feel good, especially at first. Low back, hip, shoulder, well, you name it, injuries cause major disruptions in your body. There are a number of ways out, of course. Advil, anti-inflamatories, injections, are often our first lines of defense. Then, you come to the place where the rubber meets a deep rut, you’re stuck, and faced with “what am I going to do?”
Back pain hurts. So do all the other kinds of injury that can reverberate throughout the body. While some of these injuries are random, many of them are the result of years of misaligned patterning in the body.
I do wish someone explained to me that Pilates can be painful in the beginning. I wish someone explained that you’re working with a complex set of symptoms when you’re working your way back. I wish someone explained that if you hang in there, Pilates will start to “hurt less.”
Rather than a switch you internally turn off, Pilates works like a slow-moving lever. The pain shifts imperceptably, like a slow-moving tanker. If you know this going in, you’re more likely to keep going.
One day I realized the pain was gone. The next week it was back. I seesawed back-and-forth for months. But I was no longer afraid and that was key. Under the guidance of my chiropractor, I knew if I stuck with Pilates, I would continue to get better.
And it has. I don’t live with back pain anymore. When pain comes to visit, it’s short-lived. I usually know what I did and how to get myself back on track. That’s why I love teaching Pilates. I get to help other people “hurt less” on the way to feeling a whole lot better.