My journey into the world of pilates and movement has been created over my life. I began competitively swimming at the age of five, just shortly after I learned to swim.
I remember the day I saw the swim team practicing in our local pool. I knew I needed to be a part of it. I’m not sure where my competitive streak came from, because neither of my parents had it in them. But I saw that water and wanted to be in the flow.
There is such grace in a well-timed stroke, whether it’s freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, or butterfly. The latter was the hardest one to attain, but there were a couple of years I found it. I was mainly chosen for backstroke because I was slightly better than other people on the team. My heart yearned to be the chosen freestyler, and I got closer to that position at the end of those years.
I didn’t swim for many years, but returned to the pool in 2016. It was amazing how my body felt at home again. Sure, I couldn’t swim as many laps in a row as I once could, but the joy of doing that first flip turn, and the power of pushing off that wall. The rhythm of lifting the arm for the breath, and keeping those legs kicking no matter which side the breath took. I was heavier than my teenage years, but the swim cap and goggles fit the same. Finding a new appreciation for the weightlessness I felt in the water despite the heaviness I felt in my world at that time.
After moving back to Lexington, I didn’t pursue a pool membership. It wasn’t lining up for me at the time. But after a fortuitous dinner with a friend, I dove into pilates. It took a few years of working on the reformer to pinpoint why it made sense to me. I had been so caught up in understanding exercises and looking at alignment that I didn’t realize how closely it resembled swimming. Some exercises are even named for swim strokes, but it took a while for my brain to let go and for my body to feel the flow of the movement on the cellular level I did when I was swimming.
As far as traditional sports go, I swam competitively for twelve years, and added volleyball, basketball, and track in for several years too. It was rare to feel the flow in those other sports because of their nature and they tended to be more team related. I am a complete advocate for having your team, but that is a blog for another day.
Today I am grateful I have found a home in movement. A meditation of body and breath. A connection of building and learning, both in my body and my mind.
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