I first met Linda a little over a year ago when she came to the studio for private sessions in order to strengthen her core in order to help with an old back injury. As a long-time yoga practitioner, Linda was already cued into the mind-body connection, and approached Pilates with an impressive eagerness to learn. After several months of working together, Linda let me know that she felt strong enough to pursue a life-long dream of hers: to complete a yoga teacher training program. After completing an 200 hour program over the course of nine months through the Niroga Institute, followed by 20 hours of service teachingwith a focus on reaching people without access to yoga, Linda is now a certified yoga instructor. Way to go, Linda!
I don’t get to see Linda as often these days, as she’s gotten strong enough that she can work safely in our studio’s small group classes to maintain her core strength. I’m so excited for Linda’s progress: that she got so much out of our private sessions, that she’s now comfortable in the group setting, and that she’s been able to take her yoga practice to the next level! Like many of our clients, Pilates has been key to a helping Linda get past pain and on to what she loves to do. Here’s my conversation with Linda:
J: How long have you practiced yoga?
L: I first discovered yoga at the tender age of 20, more than 40 years ago. Even though I’ve gone astray now and then, I always come back because it is so much a part of my sense of well-being.
J: When did you first decide you wanted to do a yoga teacher training program?
L: I first contemplated yoga teacher training about a dozen years ago, but I had two very young daughters at the time and knew I wouldn’t be able to even keep up with the curriculum, let alone give it the time it deserved!
A couple of years later I injured by back, then spent many of the years following trying to find a doctor who didn’t want to operate, taking strong pain medication, getting physical therapy and chiropractic, all the while avoiding most of the activities I love – running, swimming, dancing, bike-riding, walking, even yoga. I finally found a physical doctor who prescribed “therapeutic yoga,” and discovered, to my great relief, that one of my favorite early yoga teachers had a studio right down the street from home! I could barely move when she and I started working one-on-one, then over time, as I felt better, I was able to take some beginner classes.
J: Why did you originally start Pilates lessons?
L: A bit more than a year ago, a friend told me about Corpo Kinetic and how much she was being helped to recover from an injury. A total Pilates novice, I started training with Julia, eventually started taking some of the group classes and today I am stronger than ever – I just returned from a 4-day yoga retreat practicing many hours a day!
J: Do you have a favorite Pilates exercise or technique?
L: I love to work with the springs on the Cadillac – I find that really fun, maybe like being in the circus! I also love how building strength in my core and upper back has noticeably improved not only my posture, but my stamina throughout the day. I love the concentration Pilates requires. I believe Julia is a natural healer, and I really benefit from the mental pictures she creates to help me with my form.
Because of the strength and coordination I have built in my body with Pilates, as a yoga instructor I can demonstrate any pose with confidence (even if I am not as flexible as I was years ago!) I’m convinced that even beginning yoga students need core strength to practice safely, and I bring that to my teaching. Pilates has also demonstrably improved my own yoga practice, because I rely on my “center” to support the rest of my body in a pose.
J: I often get this question from people unfamiliar with Pilates: How is Pilates different from yoga? You may be the perfect person to answer this question! What do you think?
L: I think Pilates and yoga both can develop certain qualities like body awareness and strength. I find Pilates different from yoga, however, in its unique focus on the precise alignment, engagement, and integration of our muscular-skeletal structure at a very deep level. As yoga emphasizes flexibility and balance, these disciplines are a perfect pair!
J: Joe Pilates famously thought that if the members of the UN could just do his first 10 exercises, we would finally have world peace. What challenges – big or small, physical or mental – do you feel Pilates has helped you overcome?
L: I am so grateful that Pilates has given me back the courage to be physically active, and to pursue my long-time dream of being a yoga teacher. Thank you Corpo Kinetic!
J: Thanks, Linda, for taking the time to speak with me, and for being our client spotlight!