Back in the early 2000s a friend gave me a set of videos to borrow.
That set of videos was the start of my love for Pilates. And they effectively changed my life, for good!
Mari Winsors videos took Pilates from the ballet barre of New York City to homes across the globe. To ordinary people who dreamed of having "longer, leaner bodies". They sparked a movement of strength and balance, breathing and connection.
Her quiet but strong voice encouraging you that EVERYONE can do Pilates made us convinced that it was true...... and she was absolutely right!
My first two babies were small and I found the exercises invigorating, challenging and in a way powerful.
I began to sleep better. My body felt stretched and SO much better. I found it perked me up in ways other exercise had not. I would complete a workout and feel alive - looking for other things to do.
After about 6 months of following the workouts, my flexibility and stamina slowly improving, I noticed other changes too.
Decreased back pain was a game changer for me. I had lived with back pain for years and it was SUCH a relief to have relief. When I was 16 I hurt my back lifting an empty carboard box. (Lame work story!) Then I started a career as a nurse - in a heavy lifting environment. I spent a LOT of money at the physio (who consequently told me that I had very weak abdominals, but sadly, she couldn't teach me how to make them stronger) Then came the kids (4 in total).
I had spent many days away from work lying on the floor and taking pain relief without much relief. So the discovery of less back pain sparked my journey of investigation into the background and practice of Pilates.
With my nursing background I was convinced that the essence of the practice of Pilates exercises was going to be one of the BEST forms of exercise for anybodys body. So like Mari, I went on to become a student of Pilates practice and set about to train to teach.
If it hadn't been for those videos. If it hadn't been for Mari Winsor .... well we wouldn't be here right now!
Sadly, Mari passed away after a battle with ALS (amytrophic lateral sclerosis) otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's Disease - a nervous system disease that weakens muscles and impacts physical function. Sadly, there is no cure for this disease. She taught students even as her own body weakened, continuing her encouragement that ANYBODY can do Pilates.
So, ultimately, I am so grateful for those videos that changed my life.
I am so grateful that I can share with you the love of Pilates. Of movement. Of "long, lean muscles". Of the fact that anybody can do Pilates. That we can have some control over our futures, our balance, our strength, our release of pain and learn new pathways for these bodies we inhabit.
Rest in peace Mari, I will be forever grateful.
Posted: Thursday 30 April 2020