There are many reasons I love Pilates, not least the Pilates Method itself but also the people i get to meet. The teachers, the clients, the many professionals I get to liaise with as we try and keep our clients well and moving. Sometimes clients become colleagues, sometimes friends but they always help us see new ways of approaching the work we love.Untitled Session162381

I’ve been open about issues I’ve had with body image, and eating disorders, my previous post on Pilates and Mental health looked at the role that exercise has in helping us keep our mindsets healthy as well as our bodies. The issue of Body Image is far more complex than merely keeping our bodies fit or thinking positively but it does have a significant role to play. Several years ago I was lucky enough to be contacted by a Photographer called Paul Weaver In the history of my teaching he has by far been the most  reluctant person I’ve ever taught and I suspect I’ve been one of his most difficult modals! When I needed a website he put it together, when I needed photographs I trusted him with my fear of being photographed. I’ve done shoots with him since but these have been to document a change in how I look at myself. Sometimes all we have to do is find someone to trust and let them do the rest. The truth is we rarely see ourselves the way others see us, we just need to stop listening to our own insecurities. I deliberately asked Paul not to Photoshop the images where my imperfections were concerned. A fabulous make up artist and lighting can work miracles. The pictures we took were not about creating magazine proofs but of capturing things I’ve struggled to see in myself, confidence, an ability to laugh and play etc.

Untitled Session162320 I’m 42 with a life behind me, I’m not trying to be an airbrushed version of myself or 21 again. These photo’s were my way of exploring my fears, whatever way you find to do it, why delay it. Selfies are all very well but an afternoon playing dress up and becoming another version of yourself is so much more fun and life affirming!

So the next time you go to criticize something about yourself, take a moment. We are more than the number on a set of scales, or a dress size. We can make our own rules, we just need to follow them and of course break them occasionally too.

Suzy Mitchell

Just a Pilates Teacher learning to play.