Why do I do what I do?
A lot of people ask me why I do what I do so I’ve decided to try to explain it in this blog. Many of those asking this question are curious why I gave up a highly successful and lucrative career. Others are interested in what’s so amazing about what I do and some wonder why I don’t train to do some kinds of hands-on therapy.
The simple answer to why I do what I do is that I love it! I went along to my first training course 4 years ago with the intention that I was there to learn to “self-manage” my own back pain and then found myself within months handing in my notice and starting to focus all my efforts on Movement and Pilates. It still feels to me looking back on it a bit like falling in love ♥ – you don’t know it’s going to happen, and it can come as a bit of a surprise, but you absolutely know when it’s happened. And, afterwards, there is no other!
The thing about my change, though, was that I was already doing a job that I enjoyed, that I was doing very well at and really wasn’t looking for anything else. However, when I “fell” for this movement work, I knew that for the first time in my life, I had to truly follow my heart in my work – it wasn’t the “sensible” or, necessarily, the most lucrative thing to do, but I knew I had to do it.
So, what was it about this Pilates-evolved training that so turned my head? What is it that keeps getting me up in the morning and striving to learn more and more?
- First and foremost, well-taught Pilates is now described by specialists as the “gold standard” in terms of the majority of back pain. Indeed, research by the Physio who heads up my training school shows that for recurrent back pain, well-taught Pilates is more effective than massage.
- I have also found that it’s the only thing that has worked in terms of relieving my own back pain (which I’d had since the age of 19).
- However, I don’t think there are enough great teachers out there – which is one of the reasons why, despite questions from people about whether I would think about studying Physio, Chiropractic, Osteopathy, Massage etc, the answer is always no – movement is the answer for the majority of back pain and I want to be the best movement teacher I can be. There are loads of great hand-on therapists out there who I can, and do, refer to and work in conjunction with allowing me to focus on giving people positive movement experiences.
It helps me to run faster
I’m never going to break any world records, but I enjoy running – I enjoy the feeling of getting outdoors, feeling my legs move, exploring places and getting my heart rate up. Since I started practising Pilates I can now run faster than before with less training. I’m not alone in reporting this – because it gives you a better control and flow to your body and helps you to understand better where movement is coming from, Pilates can help you to get better at sport by moving more efficiently. This is another reason why I love it!
It empowers people!
- I don’t fix people, I help them to experience new ways of moving. I like to see their eyes light up when they “get” a concept, feeling or a new understanding about how their body works – whether someone is aged 9 to 90. I love that we can learn new things at any age! For clients in pain, the way that pain works means that many of us have the tools within ourselves to release certain types of pain – this means that my job can be less about getting people to move “right”, but more about just getting them to move without pain so that they can experience what this feels like. Knowing that I have given someone something that they can take in to their everyday life is one of the most magical parts of my job and this is a major reason why I do what I do.
It’s endlessly complicated…and yet simple
- Even from that first weekend, I could tell that the learning opportunities within this new sphere were endless. I learnt, and continue to learn, from some of the best in the world and what I’ve noticed is that the human body and brain are hugely complicated. I’ve also noticed that it is such an exciting time to be part of this world – neuroscience is evolving at such an extraordinary rate and fascial research shows us connections in our body that we had previously never considered. Moveover, as a maths graduate, I love shapes and patterns. One of the things that piqued my interest that first weekend was that by understanding better the shapes our bodies make,
we can get a feel for what’s going on and where things might be breaking down. The simplicity of this is its beauty – my clients don’t need to know the names of every anatomical structure, but by becoming aware of these shapes and patterns, they can start to “see”, and feel, themselves more acutely.
My work and life experience has equipped me well
- In my previous life as an audit director, I was used to looking at the detail as well as the “big picture” – so, when I ask you move your pelvis and notice that the back of your neck, for example, isn’t doing what I would expect, I’m using the same skills of observation that I learnt over many years. In my previous life, I was passionate about developing staff to their full potential so when I work with you I’m using the same coaching skills that I learnt over many years. And, in my previous life, I suffered from back pain so when I say I know how it feels, I really do.
I was useless!
- Yes, I was truly terrible at moving when I started my training and I’m sure my teachers looked at me and asked themselves why on earth I was doing this. The answer is that I’ve done it partly to help myself (and I feel fabulous for that), but also because I know that by understanding how it feels to go back to the first principles of movement, I’m much more equipped to be able to help my clients to really understand movement. This is one of the hardest things I’m ever done in my life, but I am enormously thankful to have been given the opportunity to do it.
So, what does the future hold – well, it hasn’t been easy to get to here, but as I write, I’ve just picked up the keys to my new premises in Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland which should open in April; I’m seeing clients monthly in London and I’m keen to do more writing to spread the word about how powerful great movement is. And, alongside this, I’ll continue to learn from some of the best in the world so that I can empower more and more people. Thank you to all of my wonderful clients who’ve supported me along this journey.