Lindy had total hip replacement on October 23 of this year. She wrote two posts on how she was using Pilates and mindful movement to prepare her for surgery. Now she reflects on how Pilates is expediting her post-surgery rehab.
About ten years ago, I was visiting one of my Aunts, who was about to undergo her third back surgery. She had a lengthy history of orthopedic and medical surgeries, and I was concerned for her, because she wasn’t getting good results from all these surgeries, but she was convinced this would be “the one” that finally worked for her.
I asked her what else she’d tried before agreeing to undergo what would be her 19th surgery, and she gave me in a rather perplexed look.
“I’ve taken the medications, and they didn’t work”, she said.
“What about PT, or exercise?” I asked.
“That doesn’t work, I can’t do any exercise or PT. I’m in too much pain”, she replied.
I suggested Pilates, and offered to help her with some basics, but my overture was rejected unequivocally. My Aunt was convinced that she was “too far gone” to do anything other then rely on drugs and surgeries, which were clearly making her weak and less functional.
My Aunt had the surgery, and continued to suffer.
My Aunt’s perception of Pilates is not an isolated example. There remains a myth out there in the world that you can’t start Pilates unless you’re already at an unattainable level of fitness, thinness, strength, flexibility, or youth. In other words, you’re not good enough to “do Pilates” unless you do something else first to get you ready for Pilates.
This makes me sad, because the gift of Pilates is that it meets you where you are—and not the other way around. You don’t have to do anything to get ready for Pilates; you just have to embrace the simplicity of mindful movement and show up.
In late October of this year, I had a hip replacement. As soon as I got to the recovery room, I began mindful movement practices. Even though my legs were still numb from the spinal block. Even though my brain was still foggy from the revolting tranquilizers. Even though I felt disconnected from my body—I started my practice anyway, using breath and imagination.
The beauty of Pilates is that you can begin wherever you are. With intention, breathing, and whole-body awareness. Over the past two months, my practice has expanded, but it began on surgery day, using these profound techniques.
Pilates and mindful movement simply works, no matter where we start, and no matter what our physical, mental or emotional state.