Testimonial – Tyson McLaren

I had been suffering from a particularly unhappy back injury for three years when I was introduced to Pilates.

Due to the incapacitating pain, my body had become hyper-reactive to any and every form of stimulus, treating it
as hostile and going into spasm. I had struggled to bring the muscles into some semblance of non-reaction, but realized the need to retrain nearly every muscle in my body in order to regain the strength and flexibility I had been accustomed to prior to my injury. This was no small goal, since I had held a high attunement between mind and body in the past and remembered the gruelling work and dedication it had taken to attain it; and so knew the rigors involved since many of my muscles had tightened to the point of immobility — muscle tension that was causing the spinal compression I’d begun to call “crunchy spine”. There were no outdoor activities or sports. There were no staircases. There was barely any endurance for walking a sidewalk. Deep tissue therapy on a daily basis barely eased the tension build-up for more than half-an-hour.

The opportunity to enter an environment such as Violet offers was too…well, opportune to pass up. Besides, I had thought, I had little to lose in trying it out as a potential help; and having the space and a schedule — in effect, a commitment to keep, and help, always makes a daunting task a little more managable.

Violet has an innate and highly developed ability to read body expressions and respond to the needs of people, as she is in tune with her own; this is a valuable trait in (and I deem pilates as part of) the therapeutic / holistic community. We began slowly, with a focus on increasing mobility and flexibility, whilst incorporating numerous exercises that involved many muscles and muscle groups to work in harmony, sharing the load, as it were. Her uncanny ability to judge the true nature of the barriers I was facing, as well as a keen eye for the body expressions allowed her to guide me in pushing past those limitations without pushing too hard and subsequently triggering even a single spasm. With her skills and the studio equipment, a safe and supportive environment is provided for the exploration and pushing of personal limitations, allowing me to succeed ever to more.

Within little more than a handful of weekly sessions there was significant and notable improvement. After a few months the worst of the chronic pain had all but disappeared: I could bend and twist without fear of a twinge; and my strength and flexibility had increased across the board, and beyond what experience had told me was a reasonable expectation.

Now, about half a year since beginning with Violet, my body is well on the way — not only to it’s former glory, but perhaps — toward a brand new state of cooperative harmony. Just as excellent is that pilates allows for endless heights of attainment and challenges me to get there; and there’s always room for improvement, no matter how good you are…or think that you are.

Only a week or two ago, A friend and I climbed the Chief, a small mountain with a steep trail and chains used to assist in the ascent. It was a monumental challenge for me — my most daring feat since the injury, to be sure. Not only did I reach the summit without much difficulty, but I found myself using techniques developed within the pilates regimen to do it, even incorporating some of the exercises into the hike. My posture was better, all my muscles were engaged, which took a lot of the strain off the quads and calves, and my back as well. I remained mindful of proper breathing techniques. I slept like the dead that night, but there was no spasm or cramping resulting from the trial.

I plan to continue with pilates (and hopefully with Violet) beyond my recovery to experience just how much reward there is to be had. I already recognise many sympathies and syntheses with all the limbs of, and numerous branches of yoga, as well as with principles from multiple forms of martial arts, including but not limited to judo, aikedo, and tai chi. How many more connections will I discover? I must find out.

Thank You Violet.

July 2014