… and I really felt like I was part of a TEAM again.
My world expanded dramatically this last weekend at the Pilates on Tour conference that was sponsored by Balanced Body. It is as if I joined a community that has been anticipating my arrival – they welcomed me with such enthusiasm.
Over the three days, I attended workshops on various aspects of how the body moves (and should move), on the history of human posture, and on specific yet profound structural patterns in our bodies. Presenters included many of the biggest names in Pilates, and attending were several hundred totally-psyched Pilates instructors and professionals of diverse backgrounds from all over the US as well as from more than a dozen other countries.
As noted above, Pilates now plays a crucial role in my recovery, after my immersion in it at the CotaPilates studio in Maui in March, where I was totally blown away by Alejandra’s knowledge and by her breakthrough, SCI-targeted method. I realized that Pilates added a much-needed layer to my rehab routine, and it nicely complements some of the other modalities I am using.
In particular, its focus on stability-before-all-else particularly resonated, as at the time I was just beginning to understand the importance of steadiness for my body to be ready to reconnect nerves in novel ways. I work out at Absolute Center in Lafayette for many hours each week, in addition to using my own Pilates Springboard for core ‘tonifying' every day at home (lost nerve connectivity means my body was very wobbly, and is less-so now).
So, I was definitely overwhelmed being in the midst of so many amazing leaders in the Pilates community, to meet with individuals like Phillip Beach, Elizabeth Larkam, Tom McCook, and Shari Berkowitz. From the ways our bodies are physiologically suited to the plains and forest ‘floor life,’ to the detailed mechanism of healthy knees, to a fascinating discussion of how the fascia of our thoracolumbar spine participates in inter-muscular communication – every topic I heard discussed was applicable in some way to my and my therapists’ efforts to facilitate my neuromuscular re-education.
Those insights and conversations alone would have been enough to render me utterly captivated by the Balanced Body community and the greater Pilates sphere.
What really struck me, though, was how much it felt like (the best of) a family reunion: so many movement therapists seeing each other and catching up, and through it all feeling the camaraderie that only comes when passionate, committed people come together to explore and discover together…
This is the same atmosphere of teamwork that I miss so much from the competitive swim team environment, something that used to be a huge part of my life, and one for which I was recruited to compete in college. It is a feeling that keeps you exhilarated to go to work or practice every day, and it gives you this sense of being able to do the impossible because the team atmosphere is so empowering. This supportive, collaborative vibe is also really representative on so many levels of what Pilates, and Balanced Body, are about – body wellness, community, and in general, the joy in living. How incredibly lucky I feel to be a part of it.
So, thank you to Balanced Body, and all those connected with the practice, for your incredible support as I continue to explore how best to work with Pilates to heal my