Reclaiming the Youth that I Never Had With Pilates

As I’ve mentioned many times here, I have been navigating injuries since I was a teenager.  My mother, in a misguided attempt to be helpful, would often say that I was too young to be in such pain.  Yet pain was a daily reality for me, for over a decade.  Even now, the majority of my days include some degree of physical discomfort, but nothing compared to what I experienced in my twenties.   Because of this, it has taken me many years to realize just how uncommon my experience of pain and discomfort was vis a vis my age.  I’m grateful to Pilates because as I continue to build my Pilates Body, I see the layers of pain dissolve and the body that I never had as a young person is revealed.

Many people bemoan the loss of youth with the aging process.  I can never relate to such lamentations because as I get older, I get better, not worse.  Yes, I have Pilates to thank for that in two parts.  Firstly because it helps me manage and diminish my pain.  And secondly because it gives me a format for continual improvement.  Pilates is at once corrective, restorative, and enhancing.

When I was an apprentice with Romana’s Pilates, I benefited from many conversations with Pamela Pardi.  She is one of my favorite teachers because she is so thoughtful.  Pam brought home the point that Pilates minimizes age.  It means so much to hear things in-person and in-context.  I’ve taken what she said on the topic to heart.  Because now I that I am officially aging, and I don’t have a picture-perfect-pain-free youth about which to reminisce, I have something of a double imperative to remain young by the standards of Joe Pilates:  “If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old.  If it is completely flexible at 60, you are young.”

Since I’m reading the JHP biography right now, it bears mentioning that Joe himself enjoyed something of a renaissance in his life once he was firmly entrenched in adulthood because the “Golden Era” of Pilates was when he in his forties.  For many of us, this simple truth adds yet another layer of inspiration to the method that he developed.

Today for my small part, I’m grateful to enjoy the miracle of Pilates in my daily life and to be able to share its many wonders.  It is truly a gift that keeps on giving.

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