Meet my new best friends…Yoga and Pilates!

 

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 of 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.

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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…

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#Yoga #Pilates #Strength #Journey #Mylife #Learning #Progress #Discovery #Meditation

Life is a journey, not a destination..

 

So after my light bulb moment a couple of days ago, most of my time since then has been filled with researching personal trainer courses both here in Dubai and back in the UK. Who knew there would be so many different options! I think I am finally getting to grips with the various diplomas, governing bodies and reps points. Which only fills me with a burst of excitement every time I learn something new about the industry I am about to become part of. After a large number of emails and numerous phone calls I think I am narrowing it down to the company I would like to begin this exciting new venture with.

I have to say since the other day I suddenly feel like everything is slotting back in to place now, and all the dots are starting to connect. I wake up each morning with what I can only explain as a passion and burning desire to take the next step on my journey. Within literally one year, my life has turned upside down. From waking up each morning simply yearning for a day without feeling like I am inadequate and a failure, to someone who is finally starting to feel proud of herself with a new exhilarating focus and dream that lies before her. Every day really is such a blessing and I am so deeply thankful for how far I’ve come through this debilitating illness. You know how people say, “Everything happens for a reason”, well I’ve truly started to believe this, especially after the week I’ve had…

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Feeling extremely motivated and with a fire in my belly, I headed back to the gym to do some simple cardio. I still try at the moment to limit my workouts in regards to intensity and only work on my lower half, as I have found previously including my shoulders and arms in exercise can cause upset for me and bring on a headache. However even though I have developed this achy, stiff feeling (“exercise headache”, I call it) pretty much every day after a workout, I continue to tell myself that overtime my muscles will grow stronger again and this feeling will go. “My daily exercise makes me healthier and stronger” is repeated over and over in my head whilst I endure a moderate thirty-minute cycle on an exercise bike.

However this permanent “exercise headache” really began to get me down and made me question my career choice and the future I was dreaming of. How could I become a personal trainer when I can’t even endure twenty minutes walking on a treadmill? My mind starting circling with doubt after doubt and the old negative, pessimistic me took hold for a while until I decided to message Sam my chiropractor back in the UK. I knew he was a fountain of knowledge and would for sure have an idea to this little puzzle.

Sam has been with me on this journey since the very beginning and has seen me at total rock bottom, frustrated and hurting, in floods of tears, sore and stressed, a depressed and anxious mess; but he has continued to fight this with me with as much determination and passion as I have. He makes me laugh as he always says “Your my toughest case”. We have learnt over the years that he has supported me; it’s never that easy when it comes to my pesky headaches! I poured my heart out to Sam in the hope that he would have another sure fire answer to my problem in which he simply replied, “Have you thought about trying Pilates?” I’m not going to lie, at this point I had a minor breakdown and the tears started to flow, as for a while I saw this as something else I would have to conquer before starting my PT course. Yet another set back! Feeling pretty sorry for myself, and finishing the last of the white chocolate left in the fridge, I set out to find local Pilates classes in my area. After a decent nights sleep I woke with a completely different attitude after researching the benefits of Pilates that morning;

  • Prevention and treatment of back pain
  • Improved posture
  • Rehabilitation from injury
  • Improved core strength and develop stronger abdominal muscles
  • Reduces stress
  • Creates stronger leaner muscles

Sam had explained to me that I am over using the muscles in my neck and shoulders during exercise, and I need to strengthen my core stability in order to switch off the muscles I don’t need to use. Hence me getting this “exercise headache!” It made perfect sense and he even made me consider that maybe this was meant to be part of my journey? Really? Yet another turn and twist? I had been so focused on striving to reach my destination that maybe I could of missed an important part of the ride. After all, I used to be a dancer and Pilates shares many aspects derived from ballet! Who knows maybe it would be something I could teach one day when creating health and wellness plans for people recovering from migraines? Maybe just maybe… “Everything happens for a reason hey?”

I can solely say after attending my first Pilates class I can see now that maybe life is all about the journey, not the destination! Just enjoy the ride, bumps and the unexpected turns it has in store for you; and be open to all that lies along the road ahead. You never know what might show up along the way…

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This blog is dedicated to Sam Pargeter, without whom I don’t know where I would be right now! Thank you for always having faith in me, your excellent chiropractic skills, being a great friend, for inspiring me to carry on fighting and for the belief that we would get there in the end…

Find out more information on Sam and The Heeler Centre where he practices in Sussex, England at:

http://www.theheelercentre.co.uk

#Fitness #Goals #Support #Belief #Fight #Pilates #Health #Happiness #Progress