I have been teaching Pilates for 7 years but have been active in it since I was diagnosed with spondylolisthesis at the age of 18. The condition needed a constant practice of structural stability to keep it under control. Pilates was a godsend as it eliminated the bouts of crippling pain which I had grown up thinking was 'just one of those things'. I thought having back pain every night and having to find a pain free position to finally settle in was normality for everyone...little did I know! Finally, I was pain free and it was due to these life-changing results that I decided to train as a Pilates teacher with my focus on using this to help others conquer their back pain the way I had. Until you suffer with back pain, you have no idea how detrimental it is!
Don't get me wrong...Pilates isn't a cure but more of an awareness maintenance programme which must become part of your every day routine to be effective. Now, I know this may shock you but since starting my journey in to learning about and teaching others about the complex physical human form, I have spent many an hour on the bed of an Osteopath, Chiropractor, Physio, Reiki Healer, Cranial Sacral Therapist to mention but a few. I know exactly what you are thinking! How is this possible?You are a Pilates teacher! Surely you practice what you preach!? Unfortunately, I too am a victim of that same old story...'actually, my back feels ok today, I'll do my exercises tomorrow'. Of course we know.... tomorrow never comes! What does come however, after 2 weeks of never achieving tomorrows exercises, is that good old back pain....with a vengeance!
Now, I don't see this as a bad thing...far from it actually as it means I get to go to see my Osteopath Mathieu who pretty much knows my body better than I do and does an amazing job of re-jigging this and that until everything moves as it should do. Not only is this paramount for my work in relation to the fact that I need to use my body to demonstrate but also, it means that each time I am worked on, I learn through this experience what my body has done to get itself in to such a pickle and what needs doing to sort it out, both in the short and the long term. I have never left Mathieu's practice without learning something new and low and behold, would you believe it, my next client that walks through the door just so happens to have the very same thing going on in their body that I have just been treated for! Call me crazy but I speak the truth!!
Its seems a perfectly timed coincidence I know, but really, it's just that my awareness of this particular issue has now been heightened due to the incredible, informative treatment that I have received. Based on the fact that I am a fellow practitioner, Mathieu is able to go in to fine detail about what is wrong, what he is doing and what needs doing using technical lingo which in turn, being the technical sponge that I am, makes me a better teacher than I was before I entered the room! Its a win win situation! On the flip side, the thoroughness of responses and feedback that I am able to give Mathieu whilst being treated (in between the sobs....just joking!) helps him to achieve the best results possible for my body as well as other bodies that may go to him experiencing the same issues in the future.
In a nutshell....It's a complementary partnership!