After deciding that my forte maybe no longer lies in gym based exercise, I have dedicated my time to making Pilates my new best friend. She and I now spend a lot of time together, catching up several times a week and as the days go by, we are getting to know each other on a whole new level.
I have to be honest; I am much more comfortable when donning a pair of tight lycra leggings, a comfy vest top, and my hair screwed up into something that resembles a messy bun. Looking back now, it’s no wonder really. After literally spending every waking hour of my childhood in mirrored dance studios, the familiarities that surround me in a gym class make my soul feel completely and utterly at home.
At the beginning of my recovery, it was a triumph for me to simply be able to walk around the block. Hard to believe now, but those baby steps have got me to where I am today. I’ll be honest, at the time, exercise used to scare me to death, due to the fact it could potentially induce a migraine.
However through perseverance and patience, my confidence slowly began to grow, at which point my path crossed with someone who was soon to become a huge part of my life. Meet my friend… Yoga! Let’s just say as time passed and our relationship began to flourish, I learned that regular stretching, breath control and meditation had a whole world of benefits I never could have imagined! Here’s just a few:
- Corrects posture
- Relieves tight, stiff and sore muscles
- Builds muscle strength
- Protects your spine
- Releases tension in your limbs
- Eases your pain
- Relaxes your body
- Increases your mood
- Boosts your immune system
- Quiets your mind
- Improves flexibility
Now, for people that suffer from ANY sort of headache, whether it be tension related or migraine, I promise you that this is so much more powerful than any drug any doctor, or specialist can EVER give you! This is the stuff doctors should be subscribing for patients but it’s only through discovering that maybe drugs weren’t always the answer, that I went on a journey of self-healing which brought me to where I am today.
So after discovering all the benefits yoga has given me, I was excited to see how Pilates would differ and what else it could offer me. I have to be honest; I didn’t expect it to be such a work out, but my god, how I was wrong! Back tracking slightly, Pilates had been suggested to me by my chiropractor after discovering that any gym based exercise resulted in a headache soon afterwards. He believes that I over use the weak muscles in my neck and shoulders to perform exercise (hence inducing a headache). So instead I need to strengthen my core and legs which will in turn naturally help me to switch off and stop me using those muscles in my neck and shoulders unnecessarily.
As I waited patiently on my mat for my first Pilates class to begin, only excitement and suspense filled my being. What followed was a variety of ballet based moves, blended with core strengthening exercises along side various balance sequences. I was in heaven! As I lay on my mat, back pressed against the floor, I felt my body shake and tremble uncontrollably as I attempt a Pilate’s favorite known as the one hundred. (Both legs are at a ninety-degree angle whilst your hands pulse up and down slightly off the floor, whilst reaching for your heels). After looking round the room to find my classmates in total control with not an ounce of sweat on their brow, I realized just how weak my core muscles had become. Well, to be fair I had been bed ridden for about a year so I guess it’s understandable. I left my first class both exhausted and upbeat but reassured that Pilates would be able to make my body stronger and healthier. The benefits included:
- Develops core strength
- Improves posture
- Reduces stress
- Rehabilitates injures related to muscles imbalance
- Increased muscle strength and tone
- Improves flexibility
- Relaxes shoulders, neck and the upper back
- Prevents and treats back pain
Once again, what doctor could prescribe a drug that gives you all these results?
For me, yoga and Pilates have now become a way of life. Just in the same way as you get up and brush your teeth each day no matter what, they are now embedded in my daily routine. For anyone suffering with migraine or tension headaches, I am sure the health benefits of both these disciplines are so undeniably positive that I urge you to give it a go! I know we are all different and our triggers vary, but for me most of my headaches come from having forward head position (due to bad posture).
This results in tight neck and shoulders muscles, and tension/anxiety that build up in my body over time. However through weekly practice you will slowly be able to eliminate these causes which in turn will no longer mean you are spending hours in doctors waiting room’s praying for a miracle or ploughing yet more money in to another visit to the chiropractor. Isn’t it best to work on prevention rather than just treating the symptoms all the time? I’ll keep you posted on how I get on…
#Yoga #Pilates #Strength #Journey #Mylife #Learning #Progress #Discovery