For some people their bodies become unreliable and even worse, a prison. If you can relate in some way, you know just how much more challenging every aspect of life is. Rhianne was one such person struggling to get on a better path until her mum suggested she join her at Pilates. To say Pilates has impacted her life positively is a massive understatement. Read her story below!
Why did you first want to try Pilates?
I was aware I had scoliosis from about the age of 19. It wasn’t long after my 25th birthday that I noticed my sporadic neck and back pain generated by the spinal curvature was getting more frequent. Not only was the pain worse but now it was accompanied with sleeplessness, chronic fatigue, gut and pelvic issues. I saw different specialists and had several investigative operations, all they did was put a name to the symptoms and I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and everything that comes with it. I ended up a ridged bag of bones as a result with very little muscle mass, my physical and mental health continuously on the decline.
My mum had been going to The Pilates Klink for over a year at the time and she made the suggestion that I give it a go to help me feel better and gain some strength back. I agreed and was booked in to start private sessions with Kristen.
What was it like at first?
I did 2 intro sessions followed by 8 more private sessions with Kristen before I started to join in on group classes.
Like anyone who hasn’t exercised properly in a long time, I found it uncomfortable and challenging at first, even basic footwork was hard on my joints. The brilliant thing about reformer Pilates though is the ability to adjust the resistance so we were able to start off with what I could tolerate and built up from there. I had spent the past one and a half years mostly seated in flexion due to study so my posture was terrible and I had very limited ability going into extension with my spine. I cried the first few times I laid on the arch, we had to use extra support and props to slowly ease me into many positions.
After my 8 private lessons, even though I was still very self-conscious about my appearance and physical ability, I started to join in on group classes. It was a little scary at first but once I got used to the cues and flow of the class it became like second nature, this is when I really started to notice the reduction in my pain and even more surprising my stress levels.
So when did you start to enjoy Pilates?
After the first session! I hadn’t enjoyed exercise at all in the past 10 years until I started reformer Pilates. Even though it wasn’t easy just being able to do something positive was encouraging. Being consistent over time though is where I really fell in love, just seeing my body bounce back, regaining strength, mobility and flexibility week by week. That hour out of the day became something I really looked forward to.
How have you grown beyond physical changes?
I was really anxious and lacked any self-confidence when I first started. Being underweight and chronically ill was affecting my mental state just as much as my physical. It’s over two years later and I’m still on my healing journey, however, I’ve come so far from that girl who first walked in those doors. I carry myself a lot better now. I can stand up straight. No more slumped shoulders! I’m a lot more confident being who I am.
What’s your favourite exercise?
I can’t pick one! Favourite(s) would have to be short spine, mermaid and swan because they all feel amazing and have helped a lot with my spinal mobility.
What’s your fav thing to work on?
Flexibility! You’re challenged mentally as well as physically. Before I started I could hardly touch my toes without being in excruciating pain. Now I can reach right past my feet!
Fun fact I learnt; Becoming more flexible doesn’t your mean your muscles and tendons are necessarily changing structure but rather your body’s nervous system is adapting to the increased stretch tolerance.
That’s true! What do you like about the Klink?
It’s the place I’ve found my calling.
Ah, so you’re now studying with Kristen to become a teacher yourself. Why do I want to teach others?
Pilates has helped me heaps in regards to several of my health issues so if I can help others overcome or better manage their physical and mental challenges that would give me purpose.
Rhianne has described her journey well in our little Q & A but I want to drive home just how transformative it has been watching her from the outside. With Rhianne’s permission to share, in the beginning she would hardly look up or speak to anyone. She found most exercises extremely challenging and had to fight through a lot of uncomfortableness within her own body, she really did cry during her first few sessions just with how painful some things were. We are so proud of her commitment and attitude to keep showing up and allow her body to change and heal at the pace it needed too!
The woman who attends today is completely different, her personality is able to shine, she jokes and laughs in class with others and has become a very good practitioner of Pilates even with hyper mobility. To go from unknowing, to a horrible diagnosis, to hope and even purpose, is a miracle. Rhianne is very studious and has already started teaching friends, family and assisting some sessions. We can’t wait to have Rhianne inspiring others with her own journey and her passion to share Pilates with others at the Klinik.