For anyone in the fitness world, being injured sucks. Your body that carried you through so many things is now betraying you. I know how hard it is to come to terms with that. A meniscus tear in 2014 led to a botched partial knee replacement which led to a total knee replacement/reconstruction in 2016. As horrifying as that sounds, the hardest part for me was not being able to do something that identified so much of who I was.
Being injured is so much harder mentally than physically because mindful movement is such a central part of our lives. When we are injured, we feel blue because we are hurt, but also because we can’t do the one thing that will make us feel better. No Instagram-worthy exercises or poses for me; I was re-learning how to walk again. It was humbling. I remember sitting on my reformer, sobbing and feeling sorry for myself when a book in my studio reminded me of our Pilates principles. There was nothing wrong with my upper body, and I had one strong leg. I started to focus on all of the things I actually could do. I returned to all the fundamentals. I started over with a chest lift and perfected the hell out of it paying attention to all of the tiny details. I used that time to develop forgotten practices and felt genuine joy as I celebrated milestones like how far I could bend or extend my leg each week. I also returned to my mat practice that I had neglected for years while I was having a great time on all the equipment.
Without my Pilates background, I would not be where I am today. Pilates healed my broken body and made me realize that everything wasn’t crap, even during those dark or ugly days. Pilates enabled me to not only focus on my physical rehabilitation, but also kept me sane mentally. Returning to the basics and fundamentals helped me rediscover my love for Pilates and why I began this journey so long ago. It also has made me unbelievably patient with our struggling clients, having spent some time in their sticky socks, making me a much better teacher.
Shifting my focus has allowed me to do things I couldn’t imagine and accept that life now will always have some limitations. I will never be able to sit on my heels again or do semi circle on my toes, and that’s really ok. Throughout this experience, Pilates helped me stay positive, motivated and very thankful. Every day I get to do what I love with people I love in such a great community of supportive teachers and educators. And if you ever need modifications for the knee, I’m your girl.