How Pilates Transformed my life
From a wheel chair user, as a result of ME, hyper mobility, exhaustion and pain to being a Pilates regular...and NOW our brand new Soul teacher! Meet Jenny!
"Being told in your mid 20s that you will be in horrendous pain every day for the rest of your life and most likely need to use a wheelchair/ scooter for most of it is absolutely soul destroying, I struggled with depression, anxiety and panic attacks when I went out...until I found Pilates"
Jenny truly is a real testament to how and why Pilates can be such a transformative exercise, whether you are suffering with Chronic Pain or just exhaustion from everyday life, it really can transform the way you move, think and live!
To celebrate Jenny joining the Soul Pilates team as our latest expert, we wanted to share Jenny's amazing story....from when she started Pilates, the struggles she faced with hyper mobility and after her diagnosis of ME all the way through to where she is now - moving well, feeling great, managing her exhaustion and living her best life as a full time Pilates teacher!
Why did you start Pilates?
I first started Pilates partly out of curiosity to have a play on the equipment, and also something that was gentle enough on my chronically ill body and where I wouldn’t feel uncomfortable needing to stop or being able to speak up and say I’m struggling. I’d done yoga in the past but being hyper mobile allowed me to cheat into appearing that I could do it well, whilst having no strength in my body and not really gaining anything from it.
Tell us a little about your diagnosis of ME and where you were?
I got diagnosed with ME when I was 23, after years of constant exhaustion, I then had a minor car accident a year later which exacerbated the fatigue and caused a lot of pain and tension in my body. Being told in your mid 20s that you will be in horrendous pain every day for the rest of your life and most likely need to use a wheelchair/ scooter for most of it is absolutely soul destroying, I struggled with depression, anxiety and panic attacks when I went out. Plus there were the practical aspects of not being able to work full time, look after myself and a home, being seen as lazy for having an invisible illness and missing out on life when all your friends are living theirs. It was hard to say the least!
Tell us a little about your journey with starting Pilates
I started Pilates in 2018 with a few 1-1s which I found really beneficial for understanding my body and that it is different to those around me, being hypermobile too and always hearing cues in any movement classes I’ve done before are always about stretching and finding more mobility, I didn’t realise these are the opposite of what my body needs!
After a few 1-1s I started going to Nic’s Thursday evening equipment classes every week, these became a place of fun, support, a weekly catch up with some familiar faces each week, just a place of nourishment for my soul! I’d start noticing that I could bring awareness to my body and live in harmony with it, understand it better and not fight it so much, slowly I could see myself getting stronger, some weeks I’d go back to an exercise I couldn’t do a few weeks before and all of a sudden I could do it! This felt fantastic! Throughout lockdown I had more time to focus on myself and wellbeing, and doing a few classes a week on zoom was great to keep up my practise and sense of normality seeing familiar faces and really building on what I’d learnt before. These weekly classes honestly kept me going through those hard months.
At Soul I love that the teachers listen to how you are feeling on that day and adapt the class plans to it. Pilates is great for learning about your body and its patterns, its a calm and gentle environment where you’re listened to and it is also great fun! I never regret going to a class, I always leave feeling more energised and often taller!
What has Pilates taught you?
Pilates has taught me that everything is interconnected, there is a reason a lot of classes start with breathwork - it gets us out of the "fight or flight" sympathetic nervous system and into the "rest and digest" parasympathetic nervous system, this helps me in day to day life when I’m feeling stressed.
Pilates has taught me the power of being present and tuning into myself. It has enabled me to take responsibility for my health and wellbeing, I’m cheating nobody but myself by ignoring my body’s messages or feeding it rubbish! One of the key things I’ve really appreciated with the Soul Pilates approach is that they really let you have permission to listen to your body. You can’t expect your body to feel the same at the same time every week, so why do we treat it that way?
What has Pilates given you...
Pilates has given me permission to stop and listen to my body, to go at my own pace- I no longer ignore those gut feelings when something doesn’t feel right. As a result I’m in a much happier, stable and peaceful place in my life now. As Joseph Pilates would say, "I have found that vigour and zest for life"
Jenny will be available for 1:1s at our Queen Square studio, and will be running our Pilates Equipment Circuits class on Monday
Get in touch HERE to find out more and book a session.