As its Mother’s Day I wanted to share a little bit about my Mum and her Pilates ‘journey’.
Up to probably about 5 years ago she used to love going to Zumba and Pilates classes in the local village hall. However, as she got older (sorry Mum, it happens to all of us), she started to get more niggles and after a particularly nasty neck injury, she wasn’t able to do the classes anymore.
She didn’t live close enough that I could teach her regularly and despite me badgering her to find a Pilates teacher in her area to do privates with, for one reason or another it didn’t happen. To be fair she has quite a lot going on with her body and I think she was understandably nervous about making things worse.
About this time last year, just ahead of the first lockdown, I was staying with my Mum for a few days. In her new house she has a wooden staircase which wreaked havoc with her knees. You could always tell it was her on the stairs because of the distinctive thudding gait and I was determined to get her moving with more ease. I would tease her about it but at 66 she had a lot of years left in her and I couldn’t bear the thought of her being limited movement wise.
So, one morning, I convinced her to do a bit of Pilates with me. We got the mats out, and we both lay down, but it become apparent quite quickly that it wasn’t going to work. Everything hurt, even lying still. Not to be deterred, (that’s me, I think she would have happily been deterred!) with some gentle coaxing, she agreed to do Chair Pilates. And we were off!
I stayed for a week and we did 20 minutes of Chair Pilates every morning, using some of the small equipment as props. I then got her set up on Zoom on her iPad, got her to order some of the small equipment (which she now proudly keeps in her Sweaty Betty bag) and once I was home, we continued to do daily sessions.
Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t all plain sailing. Some mornings she was not in the mood at all and we’d just chat. Other mornings she just wanted to do the stretchy stuff. A lot of things were ‘agony ivy darling’. The saying she inherited from her mum when something hurt. Sometimes something would hurt, and she’d say the Pilates was to blame “I’m sure all this Pilates isn’t good for me darling!”. But, we persevered and gradually she started to become more confident. Her posture started to improve, she could feel her tummy muscles working, her legs started to get stronger (she’s got a cracking pair of legs) and she started to be able to move more.
After a while we upped the ante and with the help of a new, more padded mat, we got her back down on the floor doing gentle exercises and we built up from 20 minutes to 40 minutes a day. My goal was to get her into the group classes I’d set up online and in September last year, that’s exactly what happened. She joined the morning classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (with some grumbles about having to get up early for the 9am start). And she hasn’t looked back.
She’s figured out how to use my new website when I launched it in November so she can book herself into classes (she’s my benchmark, if my Mum can use the website then anyone can!). And even though I sometimes have to remind her to book (!) she’s there, doing 55-minute classes, 3 times a week.
Obviously, there are occasions that she can’t make the class, but its now got to the point where she actually misses it. I can’t tell how huge that is and how delighted it makes me. She even asked for new leggings and a top from Sweaty Betty for her birthday in February. Its always a good sign when a client turns up in new workout gear. It means they’re feeling good about themselves! And the icing on the cake, for both of us I think, was that during a recent visit to our lovely Osteo, Lauren, she complimented Mum on how much her posture had improved!
For those of you that do the morning classes, you’ll know that Mummy Barder isn’t shy about coming forwards and saying which exercises she doesn’t like, or rolling her eyes at me when I ask her to adjust a movement, or when she’s caught staring out the window at the garden. Much to the hilarity of me all the whole group. What’s the saying about not working with animals or children? That should be animals, children, or your mother! But in all seriousness, she’s come so far in the last year, yes, she’s had some gentle (and not so gentle) prodding from me, but she’s wanted to do it for her, she’s stuck with it and she’s seeing real results. She’s my greatest achievement during lockdown and I couldn’t be prouder of her.
Love you Mummy.