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My Pilates Journey Week 1 – A Fighter’s Perspective

Friday 15th June 2018

As someone whose solution to getting rid of back pain is doing front rolls and throwing people over my hip, I’ve always wondered if there was a better way to ease my muscles. My name is Laura and I’m a second year Computer Science student at the University of St Andrews. Over the course of the summer, I’ll be spending 10 weeks working for Bälans Pilates in Perthshire. Feel free to come and say hi if you see me around!

I am here as a tech intern, looking to develop a homework app for 1:1 sessions between clients and instructors. I found out about Bälans Pilates through the Santander’s internship program, and immediately applied for the job, as it offered the two things I was looking to fill my summer with: an opportunity to program something with real-life impact, and the option to try out a new training routine.

While I’m here, when I’m not busy fixing computers or typing away on my keyboard, I am taking part in the Pilates classes. This is a great arrangement, as when working on the app, I will need to understand what both the staff and clients are looking for, and there is no better way to do that than to spend time with the people I’m making the app for.

Throughout my life I’ve never been particularly sporty, but in recent years I’ve trained 6 times almost every week, in two different styles of martial arts: jujitsu and karate. Because of this, my endurance and flexibility are pretty good, but my first encounter with Pilates didn’t go as expected.

My first ever Pilates class was BarreConcept, held by someone who shared my name (Laura), and who, as someone fresh out of the teacher course, has never taught a Barre class before. Soon after the class started, I realised just how much I was lacking in elegance and a sense of rhythm. I’ve not danced since I was 10 (I avoided it even in social settings), so following the beat of the music proved difficult at first. My movements felt heavy, especially compared to the flowing motion of the instructor.

I also had a surprising discovery: a lot of the moves, originally taken from ballet, reminded me of karate. Although they were done on the ball of the foot here, they resembled different entries to kicks. And so I felt more and more comfortable as the session went on, lifting my leg higher and higher with each kick.

3 years ago, I had the misfortune of breaking my left ankle. It caused me to stop training for an entire year, and to strain that ankle again and again, once I got back into sports. Although I managed to recover from the injury earlier this year, my ankle remained weak: too weak to kick anything harder than air, and too weak to support my weight on the ball of my foot.

The Barre class had a lot of foot movement, and after the class, my ankle felt more warmed up than it had in months. My physiotherapist had told me to move it around as much as possible to build up muscle, and the first Pilates session felt like it was customised to that advice, giving me hope to recover my strength over the summer.

I’m looking forward to what the following weeks have in store for me: seeing how doing Pilates affects my health, and what contributions I can make to Bälans.

Check out my next blog entry here!


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