By Kristina McQuillan

 

I am the kind of person who gets excited trying things that do not come easy.

The constant search for challenge brought me to Warsaw, Poland to study Finance and Banking and also to Beijing, China to learn Mandarin. I never thought sports would be a cerebral challenge so I constantly looked elsewhere. It was not until I got pregnant that I turned to Pilates, which has been a life changing adventure for me.

                             Strength
                              Flexibility

When I moved to Seattle I had days where I was focused and productive and days where I felt lost. I know many people experience the same thing on a daily basis, Pilates is what got me out of that vicious cycle. Every single time after class I felt satisfied and proud. I found an exercise that was reflecting my own personality. It was intense, required discipline and targeted my body as a whole.

Giving birth to my beautiful baby girl left me out with misalignments in my hips, shoulders and hunched back. I used to carry her on my left hip, treating this hip as a shelf. Her weight caused me to tilt my torso to the right, away from her, to counterbalance that weight. I continued to lean to the right from the center even when she wasn’t sitting on my hip.

Pilates helped me to straighten out my back, open up my chest and bring the BALANCE back to my body.

Pilates was called CONTROLOGY once. It is a goal-oriented exercise, which means I can set an objective and work towards my own desired end-result by making all the body parts work in synch with each other towards that goal. I isolate certain body parts and stay connected while performing controlled movement. For example, in exercise called “sidekicks” I keep the upper body in a side plank position, but my top leg is kicking towards my nose an then back towards my spine while upper body is lifted and stays still. Unlike yoga it is never a pose, it is always CONTROLLED and connected movement.

                              Balance
                            Control

All of the above wouldn’t be possible without BODY AWARENESS, that is the ultimate benefit. Years of training taught me how to CONTROL my body so it stays in alignment. I know how to STRETCH to be longer and leaner. It taught me how to tighten up my stomach to not only get rock hard abs, but also to STRENGTHEN my back. I stand tall and walk straight even when I carry groceries from the store in one hand and my 5 years old daughter in another.

At the age of 36 my childhood dream came true. I am FLEXIBlE enough to do a backbend and splits which I was never able to do, even when I was child. My adulthood dream will come true when I’m able to do Jean Claude Van Damme epic Volvo split. One can always dream, right?

The earthy benefits of improved FLEXIBILITY include getting rid of lower back pain. Quad, hamstring and side stretches relieved me from that discomfort.

                             Precision

The power and energy put into perfecting an exercise produces extraordinary results!

It has been six years since I started Pilates and became a certified teacher. What I have realized is that with Pilates, as with life, it does not matter whether you are the student or the teacher it is the progress that counts.

I am teaching in Downtown Kirkland and happy to bring even a small transformation in your life. You can find me on Instagram @bodiesbykristina or at www.bodiesbykristina.com.

Kristina

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