My mum sent me off to dancing when I as 3 and by the age of 14 I was dancing about 12 hours per week and had started to experience some discomfort in my back. I was sent for some scans and discovered I have Scoliosis so it was suggested that I start Pilates to correct the imbalances caused by this condition and I have been practicing ever since! As a young dancer, Pilates helped me manage my pain as well as improve my understanding of how my body moved. I also saw an improvement in my strength, flexibility and overall dance technique which was a huge bonus!
I went on to perform professionally as a dancer and aerialist all over the world and I was fortunate enough to never experience any other injuries. (I believe I have Pilates to thank for that!)
That was, until I went skiing in 2003…where I took a super impressive stack down a mountain and ruptured both my ACL’s. I ended up needing both knees reconstructing. I remember being sat in the Physio straight after the accident, he tested both my knees and looked a little confused. He left the room and returned with his colleague who performed the same tests on my knees. They turned to each other and kind of shook their heads, apparently they had never seen anyone injure the ACL in BOTH knees at the same time before! Well. If you’re going to do something, you may as well go all the way!
This wasn’t a great start to my professional dance career (I was supposed to be starting an Australian and American tour with the Wiggles that following week!) Mentally, it broke me as a young dancer just starting my career, dancing had been my life for so many years and I was NOT prepared to give it up. The ‘onstage’ years of a dancer are very limited to begin with and I certainly didn’t have 18 months to spend (waste) rehabbing one knee before getting the other one operated on, so my wonderful mum found the only surgeon in Australia who would reconstruct both knees at once and off we went to meet him!
I worked super hard, 3 sessions a day, to get back on my feet (literally). Pilates played a HUGE part in my recovery and I was back rehearsing for my next dance contract in less than 6 months. I was by no means pain free and still did not have full range of movement, but this didn’t stop me, I wanted back on that stage!
Fast forward to 2008 and I decide I don’t want to dance my way around the world anymore, living out of a suitcase. Pilates seems like the most logical career change for me and I complete my first teacher training program and make the switch to full time teaching.
From 2008 – 2010 I ran my own little studio in Sydney and taught for a friend as well. (I also got married!) We decided to move to London where my little eyes were opened to Pilates on a whole new level and I wanted MORE!! I traveled to the USA to study with Rael Isacowits (founder of Body Arts and Science International) where my whole approach to teaching changed, I learnt how to work smarter, not harder, in my approach to teaching sessions.
Back in London I started my own Pilates business (again) and also managed to have time to give birth to a baby! Again Pilates saved me here. The changes a woman’s body goes through during pregnancy is one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced, not to mention giving birth! Pilates kept me strong, mobile and pain free for 40 weeks and gave me the tools for a short, calm and very enjoyable birth.
Yes, I said I enjoyed giving birth. But we can talk about that another time 🙂
I had 4 weeks off work then my little baby boy and I headed back to teaching – he certainly was my ‘Pilates baby.’ The postnatal process was hard and it took time to regain full control and strength within my body, I think it took me about 12 months to really feel like myself again but I worked hard and was patient with my body during the healing process. I always tell my clients its 9 months of changes during pregnancy and 9 months on the other side to recover.
We relocated our little family from London to Wollongong in 2015 where I started The Pilates Workshop. The studio is full of amazing clients and I am very thankful that I get to work with these lovely people every week. They work hard to look after their bodies, learning the wonderful method of Pilates that has helped me on so many levels.
On good days and bad days I know Pilates is always there for both my body and my mind. I can make my workout whatever I need it to be on any given day. And now, even after 19 years of practicing the method, I still continue to experience movement and exercises in a new way.
I believe there is ALWAYS more to learn!