Straight to the Core

Ever since confirmation of my spondy, in seeking advice on how I might work on addressing this, one word (even from some fellow yoga teachers) has repeatedly come up.


I’d wanted to do some more Pilates since Tilton House but never got round to it. Now I’m in a situation where I know that strengthening my core (in particular the TA muscles) will help to support my lumbar spine.

I turned to one of my yoga teachers, Sally who is also a very experienced and knowledgeable Pilates teacher. It was at Sally’s retreat at in the summer last year where my interest in Pilates was re-ignighted.  I took classes for a while several years ago and always felt that yoga and Pilates complemented each other.  But as ever, life got busy, work to took over and Pilates (and yoga, for a while) fell by the wayside.

I was so grateful when Sally kindly said she would guide me through some Pilates moves I can do at home.  Not least because I know she is a great teacher, but also because I know she is patient and kind.  (I remember an experience of a Pilates teacher barking at me like a drill sergeant in a scenario which apparently wasn’t a bootcamp style class.  That didn’t really work for me…).  In my first session with Sally it took me some time to get re-acquainted with Pilates breathing on some of the exercises, which does differ from how we breathe in yoga.  I really appreciated Sally’s patience then!

I am also seeing a wonderful yoga therapist who after my initial assessment explained that, in yoga terms, my prana was being depleted down the front side of my body between my ribs and my pelvis.  Aside from working with my yoga therapist on correcting my posture from my feet upwards (as even the way I naturally stand has been putting additional pressure on my lumbar), there is a significant focus on the front body being able to support the back body, thereby allowing the back body to rest.  So, she mentioned working on the TA muscles (and Mula Bandha) in my very first yoga therapy session too.

I’m finding that combining my yoga therapy exercises along with the Pilates exercises Sally is showing me are really complementing each other. It does take dedication to practice regularly but just a few weeks in I am already noticing a positive difference in how my body, and mind, feel.

Sally is kindly going to monitor my progress over the next few weeks or so, gradually building on the exercises where appropriate, so I’ll be charting my progress here on the blog too.

As I work on my own physical therapy I am looking forward to seeing what I learn along the way and consequently being able to share some of this experience while I grow as a teacher too.

I’m feeling good about 2012.


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  2. Jennifer @ Flowtation Devices on 14/01/2012 at 9:11 pm

    Pilates really is a wonder, and, as a former dancer, I feel like I should commit to it more (as it was originally developed primarily for dancers). Before I knew I had a torn hip labrum, I sought several different treatment modalities, and one was three private sessions with a Pilates instructor. I had done mat Pilates before but never the equipment–wow! Injury nonwithstanding, I struggled with so many of the movements because I had NO IDEA HOW TO MOVE. I was moving from all the wrong places–using my quads instead of my core–and the simplest of moves on the Cadillac made my BRAIN hurt because my body wanted to do it the “usual” way.

    As I now know my injury, I am slightly hesitant to return to Pilates, though. For examples, leg circles on my affected leg are out. I’d definitely need a private instructor again.

    Good luck on your Pilates journey, and I look forward to reading about your progress!

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