Joseph Pilates: quotes from a genius
"If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old. If it is completely flexible at 60 you are young." -- Joseph Pilates
I can truly attest to the above words of Joseph Pilates. At 27 years old I suffered from a bulging disc in my lumbar spine that I thought would de-rail my dance career forever. It was excruciatingly painful to walk, let alone dance. The demands on my body created by a lifetime of dance seemed to have caught up with me in an instant. What do you do in a situation like that when your world revolves around movement for exercise, self-expression and your primary source of income? The physical, emotional and mental toll it took on me felt devastating. I felt old in my body. It hurt to sit or stand for prolonged periods of time and my compromised spine made me feel weak, unstable, old and depressed. It's amazing how easy it is to take for granted the importance of a strong and flexible spine.
Thank goodness for Vax-D therapy (vertebral axial decompression) which initiated the beginning of my recovery. It's a non-invasive medical treatment for low back pain. I can't remember how many treatments I had, but it worked. To further aid in my recovery and to increase flexibility and stability, I began practicing Pilates 3 times per week. Pilates gave me what Joe referred to as a "girdle of strength". Through his Method, I was able to provide muscular support for the natural curves of my spine which protected me from re-injury. In fact, I returned to my dance career for 11 more years and even performed in the super-high energy, high-impact Off-Broadway aerial show, De La Gaurda, for 2 years... with NO BACK PAIN!
I know from experience that there's nothing like feeling strong, flexible and agile. I've had 70 year old clients with more spunk and athletic ability than some kids I know. Why? Because Pilates gives them an undeniable, youthful vigor. I can't imagine my body without it.
Rock Your Powerhouse!