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Using Pilates to Cope Through Life's Challenges

Lisa Hubbard

Written by Shannon Beckish

How I Discovered Rhythm Pilates

Health is a reflection of all aspects of our life. When I found Rhythm Pilates, I was desperate to get strong, healthy, and fit. I needed to crawl out of the unhealthy net of bad habits that I had woven around myself.

I had some Pilates experience in the past, and I knew that both "balance" and "control" were sorely lacking in my life. It took one difficult week (home alone, recovering from a c-section with four children under the age of six, while my husband was admitted to the hospital for an emergency appendectomy, after a cancer scare!) for me to finally demand self-healing.  

While losing weight is not a general premise or promise of Pilates, at that desperate time, my goals were to use Pilates to a. lose some weight, b. get energized, feel alive and positive, and c. find something fun that I loved and would want to do consistently.

To the computer I ran, and quickly google searched for "Pilates set to music", and I found Rhythm Pilates on Pilates Anytime. I feel to this day that the music in Rhythm Pilates is what carried me through the process of learning how to do it on my own, with my kids watching and rolling around and learning it too.

I used Rhythm Pilates and other classes on Pilates Anytime to not only change my body, but improve my mind and spirit, and most especially change how I parented my children.

Using Pilates To Center Myself Through Difficult Times

I don't have a proper segue to explain the main crux of the importance of Pilates in general to me, specifically Rhythm Pilates, except to say, that life, in all it's glorious joy and heartache, continues.

In just over eight years, from the birth of my oldest child to the birth of the youngest, I have had five children. My husband and I experience such joy and humility in having our children. They are absolute gifts, and we do our best to raise them joyfully, patiently, and to teach them grace and how to lead positive, kind, hopeful, and healthy lives. During these years I have also had four miscarriages. In fact, I have just gone through my fourth miscarriage and am still being followed closely to check hormone levels. 

I believe that the topic of miscarriage should be openly discussed in order to demystify it. However, it's such an unbelievably painful, tragic experience that it's completely understandable that a woman would compartmentalize it and never want to discuss it. I am actually of both mindsets. I am happy to discuss my experiences if there's any likelihood that I could help other women (and their partners) get through this unfortunately common life event.

No matter how many children you have (even five like me), miscarriage is an extremely difficult experience. And the farther along you are in a pregnancy, the more difficult the miscarriage becomes. My heart goes out to people who lose a child at any point in utero or at any age.

When I was told a miscarriage was imminent during my most recent pregnancy, I was sitting in the doctor's office. I immediately took a pencil from my purse and made a line down a piece of large paper. On one side, I wrote down my questions for the doctor, and on the other side, I started to develop a plan for how I was going to get through this. All I could come up with in the moment for the left side, the "healing side", was "Pilates Anytime". Or as I labeled it in that moment, "PA RP". RP was underlined darkly about five times.

I was crying and that's all I could think of. When I came home and told our five kids, and hugged my husband, my oldest child started to hit a pillow and yell. I was far enough along in my pregnancy that he firmly believed (since he had been praying hard) he would soon get the great news that he was finally going to have a brother (he has four younger sisters).

I had my husband handle the kids while I signed online and did Rhythm Pilates. When Lisa says, "We're going to start when the music starts. Right when the music starts", I started crying again. She is so in charge when she cues you, "Arms. Roll. Arms, etc.". I just got lost in the class and I thought, you know, this plan is going to work. I can use Pilates to distract me and possibly the abdominal exercises would help start a natural miscarriage process. I really didn't want any medical treatment or intervention*.

The next day I attempted to do a class on PA that looked great, but found that all I could focus on was Rhythm Pilates. Again, I was able to get lost in the beautiful movement. I did it three more times.

For me, Pilates is my spiritual, physical and emotional workout of choice. I find myself going to Rhythm Pilates for various specific reasons, and they ALL promote positive energy and healing. When I feel and hear myself start to get snippy with my sweet kids, I actually stop myself and go do an RP class. My children, husband, and I joke by saying things like, "Mommy must have done Pilates today because she is so nice". That actually is quoted verbatim from my six year old.

I am by nature, very joyful and family-focused, but when those darker moments of stress come, I know to just go in the corner of our living room and at least do some roll downs on the Wunda Chair - that is if I don't have time to do at least ten minutes of RP. My goal is to at least do one fabulous Pilates Anytime class per day.

My humble gratitude belongs to whom I call the Queen of Pilates, Mrs. Lisa Hubbard, for her method. There is so much peace and power in Rhythm Pilates. I feel very, very fortunate and am so very thankful to belong to Pilates Anytime so I can take her classes when I specifically need spiritual boosts. I cannot say enough about the power and beauty of Pilates, and in particular, Pilates' transformative power for the mind, body, and spirit. 

 *As a side note, I did get medical intervention, pills to start the miscarriage. For me, they worked much more efficiently than miscarrying naturally which I had done in the past.