When I first started doing Pilates I was uncomfortable in my own body. I was 24 and I think most people would have told you that I was pretty confident. I liked to go dancing, I traveled the world, and I worked at one of the hottest bars in town. The thing is, I didn’t feel confident. I felt like when I was out in the world I was wearing a mask of confidence, not feeling my confidence coming from the inside. This was draining and unsustainable.

It was around this time that I started noticing myself getting slightly winded during hikes I did often. I started feeling physically uncomfortable in my own body. This affected my confidence. I still liked the way that I looked, but I wanted to actually feel as good as I looked.

So, I started playing around with fitness. I tried body conditioning with an 80-year-old ex-football coach, I tried step aerobics with a friendly woman in her 30s, and I tried to be bendy in yoga. Then I tried Pilates and I loved it. I felt great after my first class. I felt centered in my body, stretched out, and I was pleasantly sore, but I could still move the next day. So I went back.

Before Pilates, I thought that women worked out to fit a certain mold. I thought that they worked out to be a certain clothing size, to look like models in a magazine, or because they were striving for that thigh gap that the media is always telling you that you need (I can remember starting to think about thigh gaps at 12). I thought that women worked out because they hated their bodies. Now I know that many women who enjoy working out do it because they love their bodies and they love how they feel through fitness.

I thought that resisting working out proved that I loved my body the way it was. I thought that it was an act of rebellion in a world that told women how to behave. I thought that it made me stronger. Yup, I thought that not working out made me a stronger person because it meant that I was standing up to a message programmed in me since childhood. What!?!?

Over time I have learned that this just simply isn’t true. Well, we do have messages that promote self-esteem issues in women (and men) throughout our lives, but it isn’t true that by working out you are buying into this message. I work out because it feels good plain and simple.

Pilates helped me understand this. I had excellent teachers that focused on movement and form with such detail that there was no room left for vanity or body issues. This was about living our lives as our best selves and I could get behind that.

Pilates changed the way I felt in my own body, both physically and mentally. It gave me more confidence and ease when I walked through a room, up a mountain, or onto that dance floor. It made it easier for me to go to sleep at night pain-free. It connected me to my body and made me feel in control again. That is why I decided to become a Pilates instructor. I knew that there was a need in the world for more teachers who taught that movement is self-love, self-care, and is for feeling good in your own body.

If this sounds like what you are looking for in a Pilates instructor you should check out my free Pop-Up Pilates classes on Facebook. Invitations for these live 30 minute classes are sent to your inbox up to 3 days in advance along with a replay shortly after. Sign up to receive your free invitation.