This year has been about learning to let go, to stop holding on – AND on much more than one level…
The combination of being unable to do as much as I had been doing before and the fantastic…..nay… FANamazingTASTIC…. training in biomechanics I have been through with the Restorative Exercise™ Institute, I have unlocked another piece of understanding about the body; namely that muscle YIELD is the challenge for most people. I know! It’s obvious when you think about it… but I hadn’t… properly...
My physical limitations at the start of the year, following mastectomy and reconstruction, taught me much about holding tension… not so much because it was a scary new experience but because I had the privilege of time - time to think, to stare out of the window, time to feel, time to sense. With many hours in bed and with the restrictions of healing, I went inside myself to take time to explore. Then afterwards, the movements were small and controlled, gradually, slowly…
And my biomechanics studies explained things….explained that malalignments come from overly tight areas, rather than simply the loose, the lazy hanging-your-hip-out sideways types of postures, the slouch.
It taught me EXACTLY how hard it is to let go of habits I didn’t even know I had and how to recognise them more easily. And I thought I was pretty aware.
It taught me that posture (where we put ourselves) and alignment (where we should be for optimum health) can and often are completely different things….
It taught me that its not too late ….at any age. That it can make an immediate difference.
SOOOO... on my return to work, my focus has become about helping people to recognise precisely where they are holding and then asking them to bring it to the conscious and then try to let go. Have you tried lifting and lowering your knee caps lately? Can you lift your second toe without lifting any of the others? I wager it’s not as easy as you think.
I struggled with the new marriage of biomechanics knowledge and my Pilates training where we are asked to hold flexion, to engage core, to create tension to strengthen. I struggled and even at one point thought of giving up all my Pilates ambition, as I Just. Could. Not. Reconcile. It…
My connective tissue knowledge, my MELT Method™ training, with its wonderful understanding of how the body actually works, and my recently acquired love of meditation (still trying - still not awfully good) sat nicely with yield and restoration but it took me longer to grasp the subtleties of Pilates. But grasp I did… eventually…and with a huge sigh of relief.
Not all Pilates is the same and many training schools encourage a great deal of tension in the body. I try really hard to learn from only the best, to surround myself with like-minded teachers who are open to challenge and personal growth, who don’t mind being wrong as long as there is a way to move forward, who offer their knowledge and friendship freely and with a generous spirit…and from there and from them I understood that my approach to teaching is good (phew), that Pilates stands the test of time - that it is as much aligned with yield as much as it is with contraction – I just hadn’t thought about it in exactly THAT way.
My approach to Pilates has always been focused on Control: that combination of switching on and switching off body areas. Students who move too quickly, too early, often speed past this subtle awareness, this mastery of “motor-control before loading” that has always been central to my teaching. Yes, at first it may be boring for those who would rather pump, combat or attack, to those who want to get moving, spin faster, sweat more….but if you are doing that without control, without alignment and with only a fraction of your muscles screaming - where is the health in that?
2014 found me traveling to Germany on holiday and to training in The Netherlands; "letting go" of my son as he starts to University and "finding" both a new physical and mental identity for myself.
It saw us, as a community, raise over £2500 to help local people suffering from lymphoedema - many, many thanks to everyone who helped, paid, rolled, melted and travelled. Big TA! to Kirsten Farrelly who came all the way from Dublin to unkink us all with her MELTy balls! You were all fantabulous. If you know anyone who suffers form this debilitating problem then get in touch with Kate at Stirling Massage Therapies for more details about how we can help.
2015 not only brings me a BIG birthday but more classes and workshops, including one specific to Alignment and Gait – thank you so much to all my clients for coming back to me (I appreciate it more than you can know xx) and all the lovely new people I have connected with too. Please help me spread the word that Free one to one sessions are available for those recovering from breast cancer treatment, as I start a monthly clinic at Physiofocus, in Stirling. And more learning is planned as I complete my Pilates Equipment Training and continue to expand my Fascia knowledge and biomechanics education to help more people let go of those tight areas, improve their movement and get out of pain.