Pilates post-surgery

I’ve been coming to PYM for it must be 15 years, and am 75. I live in London though spend a lot of time in northern Greece which I love as we have a house in a mountain village there and I’m always busy with the house and garden where we grow our own vegetables.

A physio recommended Anne-Marie to me after hip-replacement surgery. I’m also hypermobile: when I was young it was called being ‘double-jointed’ – then I thought it was rather marvellous being able to make certain movements other people found difficult, little did I know then the problems it would cause in later life!

I”ve also had the linings of the hips replaced as they wear out after some years, both knees replaced and major surgery on my right foot. And I have been through surgery,  radiotherapy and chemotherapy to treat breast cancer.

I have found Anne-Marie to be extremely kind and supportive over the years. I am very grateful that she always finds a space for me as my attendance is a bit irregular wha with being away for up to 3 months at a time, not to mention time out for medical reasons. Anne-Marie has suggested exercises I can do when I am away which when I do them, help enormously. I have very bad posture, forget to breathe properly and am not really in touch with my body as I have spent an awful lot of time ignoring what’s going on.

I dread to think of the state I would be in had I not been so fortunate to find PYM. I ALWAYS feel better after a session. It has taken me a long time to learn the very simple things I need to do in the correct way, even so I often need reminding! I feel so grateful to Anne-Marie and Kara too who has helped me enormously when Anne Marie has not been available.

Managing hypermobility

Ana Hesketh has been taking a once weekly session at PYM for a little over a year in which time she has been taught by Sarah, Serena, and Emma: “All very different,” says Ana “but equally fantastic.”

Here’s what she has to say about her experience:  “I joined PYM after I had had both of my children – about six months after I’d had my second. I wish I had discovered it sooner!

“I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (hypermobility) which has caused multiple health issues over the years including surgery on my knees and problems with my back, shoulders and arms. I have found that Pilates is the best way of managing the condition.”

“I’ve had one-to-one sessions which were good but not local to us. Locally we had tried mat classes and equipment classes but hadn’t found anywhere near as good as PYM – here they are friendly, caring and knowledgeable.

“I gain a real sense of control through coming here: you have to concentrate whilst doing the exercises and the teachers keep a close eye on making sure you are doing them properly. By doing this, over time you develop an awareness of your body – areas of tightness, weakness, strength and how the body is changing over time. An hour and 15 minutes it is a perfect length of time to unwind and feel a new person.

“After a session I feel fabulous: it feels like you have exercised and meditated at the same time – stronger, lighter, fitter and more relaxed.”

Since becoming a client Ana has introduced her partner Russel Hayden to PYM and he’s become hooked!

Improving posture, relieving pain

London couple Florian Kulla and Zsofia Pastor are both in their 30s and work in finance. They have been PYM clients for 2 years and 1 year respectively.

Explaining what brought them to PYM, Florian says: “I had a slipped disc and the liquid was pressing on my L4 nerve, hence I wasn’t able to move and the muscles in my leg deteriorated a lot in the beginning. When I started I could only do the easiest exercises. I can remember that I wasn’t even able to do roll-downs.”

Zsofia: “I always had a very sore back, especially lower back. We both sit in an office doing a demanding job, therefore we probably often sit incorrectly. So to be able to focus on our back during Pilates classes and be more aware of our posture during our everyday life is quite essential. Since going to classes at PYM I can feel my posture is getting much better and my back is not as sore as it used to be.”

Currently Florian attends sessions once a week and Zsofia twice. How do they feel afterwards? “Great,” says Florian; “but tired. In general I would say that you can feel the combination of strengthening and stretching exercises. I feel more flexible but sometimes my legs are shaking when walking down the stairs.

“I often had pain in my neck muscles before I started Pilates. It never happens anymore. I can remember that I never knew how to sit on the floor when playing with a child. Now that’s much easier because everything is more flexible.

“All the teachers are highly motivated and enjoy their sessions, says Florian, “eg with Serena you never have the feeling that it is a routine for her and she always has some new exercise which she is excited about. You can feel that this is an important part of her life.”

Zsofia echoes that: “Like Florian I feel great but tired after a session,” she says. “But it also feels like I have had a massage and my back and whole body is much more relaxed and soft with no or hardly any tension left.”

She goes on to say: “I tried a couple of Pilates classes before, however they are not even comparable. The fact that the teachers at PYM know your body, your any aches/pain and asks every time I go to a class how my body feels, creates the scene of that certain class. During the class you are looked after, any tweaks you need to make to be in a better posture, to ensure that you are doing the exercise correctly is amazing. It feels as if you are doing a private session.

“My back and whole body feels more in line, any pain I have disappears after class. PYM has a very knowledgeable team of teachers in a great place, and at the Clerkenwell studio the whole concept of being able to see some other specialists and they can discuss your medical history is very helpful too.”