3742 Far West Blvd., Suite 110 Austin, Texas 78731 (512) 452-0115
I discovered Pilates about 10 years ago. The goal was simple: find a fitness program that would enhance (or at least sustain) my energy level, increase my strength and flexibility, and maintain my interest. Many options appealed to me, such as yoga, martial arts and tai chi, but they seemed a little too exotic. There was always the lurking danger of becoming a vegetarian or wandering around in robes, looking serene. On the other hand there was a sudden rash of "boot- camps" opening everywhere, but that really wasn't for me either. That just looked like a quick ticket to the nearest cardiac care unit.
So what was Pilates? It was rather vague at first, something about strengthening the core and working from the powerhouse. What little I was able to learn was that it seemed to be popular with dancers recovering from injury. Well who wouldn't want to hang out with gimpy dancers? This seemed right up my alley so I found myself on the doorstep of Body Springs Studio.
Here's the deal, in a nutshell. You sign up for mat classes, or for private instruction. The instructor takes you through an ordered set of exercises designed to strengthen your core, that group of muscles that form the abdominal wall, and the larger muscle groups in your legs. This is the powerhouse. As you progress, you learn that there's a secondary powerhouse up around your shoulders, and this becomes a bit of a revelation. The cool thing about Pilates is that as you progress, you learn more about your body (and all these powerhouses), and the exercises awaken (or reawaken) a trust in your body that you might not have felt in a long time. You learn that form and flow are important, that you can exercise without music, or instructors with bull horns, and that you don't need to work out in pajamas or robes (unless that's your thing). The approach is careful and deliberate. Strength movements are alternated with stretching and flexibility movements and new exercises are inserted into the program when it is apparent that you can step up safely. The first thing you'll notice is that your posture has improved. It's curious, but after a few months your body relaxes, which allows you to open your shoulders and walk taller. Your feet become larger because you can see more of them. It's amazing how much tension we build into our bodies. By the way, the instructors seem to be obsessed with posture.
How do you know you're progressing? Unfortunately you're not going to come away with six-pack abs in six or twelve weeks unless you're doing some serious cheating. In the beginning, you'll learn the basic exercises and the importance of form. Your core will resent your sudden interest in its well-being. Your back and hip flexors will want to pick up the slack, but this is never a good idea. Too much reliance on hip flexors is also considered cheating in some circles. The core would seem to be both cunning and lazy. There's a good bit of variety in Pilates, so boredom hasn't been a problem. In fact, once you begin to get your core in shape, you'll probably notice your activity and energy levels elevate, and you'll get the urge to introduce some cardio work to supplement your core training. In other words, you'll feel more alive. Pilates can't turn back the clock, but I feel sure that it has slowed it down considerably.
Dennis Gerow, Parks and Wildlife
I just wanted to tell you that I had a personal best yesterday. I had the lowest score in golf than I have ever had and I really think it is because of you and Pilates. I am driving so far now that it has gotten easier to get to the green and making me hit less. Thank you!!!
I want to thank you both (Vicki and Alia) for getting my aged body remarkably in shape. When I arrived at my summer vacation cabin, I did not feel really tired and was able to unload the car and carry the contents up the stairs into the cabin and not miss a beat (which means I did not have to stop every few steps to rest.) This was a very empowering thing and I owe it all to you two, and of course, Pilates. Consequently, I have enjoyed my time much more hiking and fishing. The lengthening and strengthening of my body structure, along with the spinning, has allowed me to step high and not trip as much as I used to, as well as not be as tired at the end of the day -- that is until two weeks ago when my family got here (one family per week) which was fun, but not at all relaxing.
I am sending several pictures that you are responsible for, at least in part, if not completely. Twice within six days I climbed this 13,000+ foot mountain. Sam went the first time, but I was afraid she would fall off the peak of the second. I had to walk across these boulders (thanks for the balance) before I could get to the trail at the base of the mountain.
Pilates has helped relieve the chronic pain in my shoulder and neck. My posture has improved and I am more aware of how I sit, stand, and walk.
Wanda Elliott, Teacher
In the six months I've been taking Pilates, I've noticed changes in both my body and body image. Vicki has helped me increase my flexibility, improve my posture, and increase my muscle definition. Most of my life I have considered myself uncoordinated related to exercise -- Pilates and Vicki have changed that! I have a different outlook on my abilities and appreciate the inner strength I'm developing.
Kimberly Hagara, Manager of Audits
Although I had practiced Pilates in the past, I had not achieved the dramatic improvements in posture and figure that I have under Vicki's instruction. She is an amazing teacher.
Chyna Sinclear, Realtor
Pilates challenges me physically and mentally. With Vicki's inspirational zeal I'm able to strive for continual improvement, giving me the results and confidence to overcome any self-imposed limits.
Karoline McLaughlin, Marketing Director
I love my pilates sessions! -- My body is stronger and more centered. My three years at Body Springs have made me much more flexible. -- This is my investment in myself.
Carol Thompson, Thompson Group
Email from a client who fell off her horse:
The initial MRI, on the day of the accident, said: "non-displaced bilateral sacral ala fractures; non-displaced fracture of right inferior pubic ramus; non-displaced fracture of right superior pubic ramus at the anterior acetabulum. Left pyriformis muscle shows hematoma, strain, and at least high grade partial thickness tear at the pyriformis musculotendinous junction. Coccygeus hematoma suggested; muscle strain and hematoma of the left pyriformis muscle adjacent to the sacrum."
Saw the bone doc today, we looked at some fresh x-rays, and: one of the pubic ramus fractures has already healed, the other one is pretty well bridged; and the sacrum fractures are bridging very well. As soon as I get my walking cane cut to the proper length, I am off the walker and on the cane (although the walker is good in public places because it keeps people away from me); I can drive; I can go up and down stairs on the cane. I also saw my acupuncturist today - 15 needles in my butt, I'll be seeing her once a week for a month or so. I see the bone doc again in three weeks and we expect that I can start back with y'all the week after that - I can expect to be back in the saddle (literally!) in 6 -7 weeks from today (but had to promise my mom no jumping for another month after that).
Yay!!! And again, thanks to you, Gretchen and Joe - it seems that Pilates - and Lady Luck's favor - are the things that prevented a shattered pelvis and gave me pretty minor injuries and fast recovery. Y'all think over what Pilates exercises will best serve my rehab when I get back.
The bone doc, Kalin Kelso, really did say that my muscle and bone strength went a long way in preventing more damage than I actually incurred, and that Pilates would be excellent rehab when I was ready.
Jennifer Scates, Lawyer
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