If I had a pound for everyone who told me that Pilates was good for back pain I would have paid off my mortgage years ago, as it stands I still owe the bank a considerable amount and my hope lies solely in winning on my NS&I bonds each month.

Joseph Pilates, we know was an unashamed self-promoter, one wonders just where he would have taken the socials given his disdain in the 30’s for what he regarded as societies then over reliance on telephones & automobiles but nearly a century later there are plenty who carry the devotional message on that Pilates will indeed cure all physical ills and return you back to life.

Last weekend I fell down the stairs, ankle. elbow, ribs & headfirst. As the world literally got pulled beneath my decorating self, there was an eerie moment of calm right before the WTF moment of landing, hard, my husband said I made no sound other than the monumental thud of my body hitting the stairs, the dogs looked bemused, the cats condescending. I looked pale & in serious pain as I decided to be the first aider & the patient & assessed the damage, scanning for breaks, bleeding & concussion. I thankfully concluded I had none but knowing that head injuries can often be silent I reminded my husband where all the important paperwork was. He got me a glass of water & cleaned up the emulsion now covering the stairs & possibly the cat.

And as I found myself reflecting on just how I was going to transport 5 cats, 2 dogs and my life back to London after the weekend & just how was I going to teach, I decided to pause & to trust my knowledge of anatomy, the body & its enormous capacity for healing & recovery. Knowing I had strength & flexibility on my side instead of getting angry with my ridiculous fall I reflected on my bodies coping strategies, the interesting ways it found to circumnavigate pain. I got pain relief on board, Arnica, Epsom salts & heat & ice (apologies to my acupuncture colleagues but dancers need ice sometimes) I’m not back to Ballet yet or demonstrating classes for now but the body is slowing finding its way through the bruising & pulled muscles back to its old familiar self.

So my point is this, I got lucky, I don’t have much padding and bone breaks could easily have resulted from this accident but I do have strong muscles, flexibility & mobility, being able to plie when you cant move your back has it transpires been essential for feeding the cats, but also I have acute interoception & body awareness in all my daily movement which I think is key when life inevitably trips you up one way or another. Doing Pilates or any other regular exercise that builds your strength, flexibility, co ordination & understanding of your bodies brilliance I believe are the essence of profound physical & psychological recovery when we find ourselves suddenly on the ground wandering how we got there.

So the time is now, life will tip you onto your backside at points throughout your life, physically, emotionally or psychologically. Don’t wait until you are on the floor to decide that taking care of yourself is a good investment, and for those still concerned, the cat survived the Farrow & Ball emulsion & is waiting for me to complete the project to his very exacting standards, it seems after all falling for a cat is one thing, trusting you can land on your feet when you are a mere human quite another, but we can but hope & at least be inspired by feline wisdom & survival. That being said I’m off to take a nap, it seems to work for my 3 & 4 legged family so perhaps I should take note,

Keep smiling & moving onwards,

Suzy xx


Seraphina Pilates

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