Susan: Healing my Body with Pilates

The Basic Building Blocks

Hello again!  I am happy to be back with you.  I will try to make my entries a little shorter now that you all are caught up on my journey. 

The basics have never been so hard!  My good friend Lynn Welden who has taken Pilates with us always said, "Pilates is not for Sissys".  I understand that more than I ever thought I would!  I have been taking lessons as part of my recovery since the end of May.  I take a lesson with Wendy Norelli at Good Shepherd on Tuesday and a lesson with June Hines in Doylestown on Saturday every week. They are encouraging, understanding and challenging with me.  Each time I leave their lesson I am once again solidified in my belief in the healing power of Pilates and the benefit of instruction from a well trained teacher.

That is us in the photo:) This is one of the few photos that I have allowed to be taken since my surgery and I am sharing it with you all.  As you can imagine, it has been difficult for me to see myself in photos since the surgery.  Baby steps forward each day!. 

That is us in the photo:) This is one of the few photos that I have allowed to be taken since my surgery and I am sharing it with you all.  As you can imagine, it has been difficult for me to see myself in photos since the surgery.  Baby steps forward each day!. 

Footwork was one of the first exercises I attempted.  My right side is not healing as quickly as my left which manifests as limited strength and flexion in my right leg/ankle/foot.  This affects my ability to walk as I continually catch my right toes on the ground when I take a step forward. So  footwork on the reformer began with the arch position only.  And even in this position the instructor had to hold my right foot on the footbar. Initially I could only move the carriage on 2 springs.  As of last week I have progressed to doing the entire footwork series on my own, 3 springs with just a little assistance to keep my right foot on the footbar!  I am gaining strength, coordination and confidence. Last Monday I had a lesson with Rodrigo from Brazil. 

Rodrigo reminded me that the footwork is also stimulating the nerves in my feet and giving feedback to my spinal cord and brain. 

From the footwork I move onto the One Hundred holding the straps and keeping my knees bent and legs up in the air.  This is quite a feat for me!  When I left the hospital at the beginning of June I still could not hold my right leg up in the air on my own.  I do lift my head now which helps me to feel the work more in my powerhouse. You probably don't have to rest after these two exercises but I do!  I am happy for a chance to get off of the reformer to set up for another exercise!

On the Reformer here are additional exercises I attempt right now:

Coordination, Frog and Leg Circles, Short Box using the Magic Circle to help me with the Tree, Stomach Massage (which is tremendously difficult because I am so stiff), Elephant, only the Round for Knee Stretches, Running and Pelvic Lift.  I can honestly say that none of them are easy!

What other exercises do you think I might be able to attempt in the studio?  Would love to hear your thoughts!

Until next time, sending you love, Susan

"To see the world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wildflower." ~William Blake