I’ve always shyed away from Pilates.. To be honest, I thought that in a way, Pilates was a Yoga impostor. In the last 18 days at the EpicSelf Fellowship, and under the training of Amber Zuckswert, I have found a new power in Pilates.
Yoga has been part of my health routine for over three years and the gifts it has provided me are more than I can count. Yet, I did sometimes feel like something was missing. Pilates fills those gaps in for me.
Specifically, I am learning that Pilates offers me deep core work, pain relief, and release and extension.
Lets break those down:
1. Deep Core Work
I have never in my entire life felt my abs muscle burn hours after a workout. Amber’s philosophy is to build strength in the deep muscles, the muscles that truly support our balance and posture. Her Pilates matt sequences target deep muscles that I honestly never thought I had. From sit ups along foam rollers to rolls overs, the work has targeted my deepest muscles which is helping change my body composition. If you think yoga sore is good, Pilates sore is so much sweeter.
2. Pain Relief
Every morning when I roll out of bed, my low spine screams at me. Those first few steps in the morning are always so stiff. I had mentioned this to Amber who immediately introduced me to a spiky, squishy, yellow ball and did a sequence using the ball along my spine to help build strength and release tension. The relief was instant! I couldn’t believe it. The next day we practiced with our spine and ribs on top of our rollers. After a sequence, I removed the roller and laid flat. My spine never felt so loose, open, or flat in my entire life. My back hasn’t be this happy in years.
3. Release and Extension
My new best friends are a pair of tennis balls. Yes, tennis balls. Amber has taught us the art of myofascial release. Think of your body without any skin (gross, I know). All you see is muscle around the bone. What I didn’t know is that there is a tissue layer that holds all the muscles in place. Over time this shrinks but by working tennis balls on key areas of your body – neck/shoulders, sacrum, feet – this entire network opens up, proving your body the space it needs to release and extend. I have to say, I am on a mission to talk about this more because the difference in your body is anything but subtle.
After I leave the fellowship, yoga will still be part of my almost daily practice, alongside Pilates. The two compliment each other so beautifully and work in tandem to give you the best functioning body possible. That is so central to my daily workouts and my long-term health plan and hope that you too will make the space to try Pilates.