I’m a Libra, so I know more than a bit about balance. I spent much of my life as a ballet dancer, and that was all about finding balance in the body and mind. While dancing, I also worked many other jobs to help support myself, so there was a balance in finding out just how much I needed to do in both aspects of my life. Now, as a Pilates instructor, I see everyday the effects of people living out of balance, and it happened to me for many years as well.
When we are in balance, our lives just work better. When we get enough sleep, eat the right foods, have a good social life to work life balance, family time vs. me time – everything is better. Unfortunately, that is not as easy to achieve as we would like. Similarly, when we have muscles that are out of balance, we also have a difficult time. This recently hit home for me when I realized that much of the chronic pain I have been living with since the end of my dance career was due to a few small muscles being extremely atrophied and therefore weak, and all the other muscles around them being too strong. They were out of balance, and that was causing me immense pain.
I suffered through this pain for years – went to see the best doctors and physical therapists around, tried all types of therapeutic treatments, and all were helpful and nice for a while, but nothing really fixed the underlying problem. Finally, a very wise person, Martina Enschede (she happens to be one of my instructors!) took a look at me, listened to my history of injury, and said, oh, well, this is the reason your in pain, because that muscle is supposed to do this action, but see – it can’t. It was like a bomb went off in my head! REALLY? After all these years and all these doctors and all this suffering and pain, all I really needed to do was balance the strength in my muscles? Yes! They were some very specific and hard to access muscles, but once I did, I am more or less out of pain. It’s been amazing, and eye-opening, and frustrating that I spent so long doing things that really didn’t make a difference.
And this is why I am such a huge fan of Pilates and the Pilates method and equipment, because you can make movements happen that are specifically designed to strengthen and correct the muscle imbalances in your body, no matter how big or how small, and bring you back to your true health. It shows me it doesn’t matter how old you are, or how long the muscles haven’t worked, if you begin to strengthen them again, and work them, they will start doing their job again, your body function will return to normal, and you can be back in balance.