Love Pilate’s first teacher to join the studio.
I am where I am meant to be. Here. This is my backstory.
Born and raised old school, I am of a pre-digital era. This comes as an absolute shock to my 7yr old daughter, who cannot fathom life without Google and smartphones.
My Playstation™ was the backyard, the streets, my rollerblades. Woe betide if you told my parents you were bored. My mother would point her finger out the backdoor with utterances of “get outside and find yourself something to do”.
Conscious movement came for me as a gymnast at the tender age of 6. Gymnastics gave my body a strength and flexibility I would not appreciate until much later. I was also a lightning fast short-distance athlete in both primary and high school. I loved to run. Not far, but fast, like the hounds of hell were on my heels. I was really good. I was also a crazy adrenaline junky, jumping off walls, roofs, anything really. I wanted to be a bird. I was the girl with perpetually sprained ankles or scabbed over knees. I was ahead of the parkour movement and I’m sure I tried most of their stuff before 1990. I moved onto your stock-standard high school sports. Winter hockey and summer squash, proving quite adept at the latter, being relegated to C-team duty on the former. I stayed active until Matric when my parents decided academia might stand me in better stead for a future in a then very volatile political climate. It was 1997 after all. I was raised in a single-income household where money was spread rather thinly and by the time I left school there was not enough to send me onto a tertiary education. The College of hard knocks aka Life was my school du jour. So I had to enter the working world and find my way. I relocated and ended up on the East Coast where I met and married my Man.
Some of my family had left to Canada a few years prior and on a return visit my aunt brought along a magazine she had packed for airplane reading. It was their version of Women’s Value and one of the articles highlighted growing fitness trends in North America. One of them featured a female Pilates teacher. I read her story and was smitten. She looked strong and powerful, graceful and grounded, all the things I felt I needed in my life. I was also shocked that Pilates was older than I was! It had been around for ages but was gaining momentum on the Hollywood scene due to the amount of celebs that were touting its’ magical transformative power. Alas, small town living does not often indulge one’s fantasies and the nearest class to me was a 2hr drive away. So I had to shelve that dream…for the moment…
But life and circumstance led me to the Mother City, stars aligned and I met a person who taught Pilates. If memory serves, I hugged that stranger and promised to be their bestie for life if they shared their Pilates world with me, And they did. I began to move. The heavens opened and angels appeared with harps when I did my first session, a real hallelujah chorus. I had found another love. I gingerly started with going once a week but quickly it crept up to twice. Then three. I was hooked. My body craved the movement, the more I moved the better I felt, the better I felt the more I moved. A harmonious circle. With every session I would think how thankful my spine, my joints, my muscles, my everything was. My soul sang. What was this feeling and could I figure out how to turn it into dust and sprinkle it on everyone I knew? Why wasn’t everyone doing this all the time?
Well before you could say “hundred” I was doing my finals and certified as an instructor. About 10yrs after reading that magazine. That’s when the real learning began. And it’s still ongoing. I have met and moved so many different bodies over the last few years.
Can movement heal? Insert a huge resounding YES here. I have seen it happen repeatedly, felt it in action within my own skin. The more I move, the more muscle memory from years ago returns. Sure, things have shifted around in the last decade or so. I am no longer 20. I have aged, grown, changed. I have incubated, sprouted and breast-fed a whole person, there is another microcosm of DNA walking around out there because of me. (I hereby give myself permission to add that to my list of super powers) But I have been able to recapture some snippets of my youth, my tissues and fibres say “Hey, we’ve done this move before. Let’s go easy this round but we can do this”. And my body says “Don’t stress, I’ve got this!”.
I read somewhere that running a marathon is a mental test. Our bodies can keep on moving until we simply run out of fuel and water and drop dead. It’s our minds that tell us our feet hurt, that it’s too far,we can’t do this. The body will keep on going. The ultimate machine. A beautiful, exquisite, masterfully made machine. But it needs maintenance and upkeep, oiling and tuning. A regular firing up to blow the cobwebs out the pipes and keep the engine purring like a pussycat.
So, where will your body take you? Anywhere, but it needs your mind to come along too. And if you get your soul involved, well then it’s a party!
What can you do now? Something. It’s always a step up from Nothing and just the doable side of Everything.
What will you be able to do some time from now? Who knows? But it will be so much more than you planned and even better than you imagined.
When will you stop? I pray the answer to this question finds you saying “When I die”. Movement is like breath, essential.
In the sage, wise words of some random person on Pinterest, “ If you can believe in unicorns, mermaids and Santa for 10 years, you can believe in yourself for 5 minutes!”
Written by Tiffany Trevor-Jones, 23 September 2017