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Why I Started Pilates

Sometimes we are one thought away from a life-changing decision.

If you're expecting a "love at first sight" story, it's not.

The first few times I "did Pilates," I was a little bored.

My teacher was lovely and kind and someone who I am proud to call a friend and inspiration. But back then I had two small children and co-owned a home office-based business. Getting out of my house a few times a week for dance classes was my luxurious reward and escape.

I might have looked like someone who did Pilates. I was flexible, coordinated and depending on the year, thinner. A few years and hundreds of hours of dance classes later, I was hobbling around with muscle strains and hip and back pain.

I went to my orthopedist and then to physical therapy. My amazing PT, a retired dancer, helped me gain strength and stability to reduce nerve and hip pain from symptoms known as “SI joint dysfunction." I wanted to be pain free. Doing my exercises at home and going to PT for manual therapies and more "core exercises" helped reduce nerve irritation in my low back and right leg.

But it was boring. I asked my PT: Do I have to do these exercises for the rest of my life?

Her answer: If you want to dance like you do, she said, then yes, you should do these for the rest of your life.

"And you could do Pilates."

With her words, I went from bored to inspired.

Nothing changed except my belief that Pilates would help me keep dancing.

I began a mat Pilates class at Ballet Austin's community school. I couldn’t get my shoulder blades off the floor, and my neck tired quickly. I thought the Pilates rollup was an impossible joke. My weak, flexible hamstrings translated into a tight lower back. My legs seized up in bridges; everything else was on fire.

But soon, I was taking adult ballet classes without shooting pain and a numb foot.

I added an hour a week of Pilates to my schedule. When a new Pilates studio opened in south Austin in 2013, I was practically sitting on the sidewalk waiting for it to open.

Maybe you're one thought away from something different about your body or your life.

What thought is keeping you where you are?

Who are you without it?

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