Our lovely teacher Rika has lived with scoliosis and believes wholeheartedly in Pilates as a means of managing it…..
” My name is Rika, I am a Pilates Instructor at The Pilates Clinic and I have lived with a severe scoliosis (a three-dimensional twist of the spine, curving side to side to form a C or S shape) since the age of 14. Over time, I have learned to implement a number of methods of managing my condition, leading me to discover the immense value of Pilates as remedial exercise for scoliosis and then, eventually, to become a Pilates Instructor.
For the scoliotic spine, it is important to understand that Pilates based exercise will not reduce the curvature or ‘cure’ the condition. However, regular Pilates classes – tailored to the specific needs of the individual – can improve the appearance of the scoliosis with focus on posture, mobility and strength, as well as providing great relief from scoliosis related discomfort.
In my case, a careful Pilates practice has enabled me to gain control over my condition. At times, especially without exercise, I suffer from a constant, radiating back pain where the more developed muscles along one side of the spine feel tight and uncomfortable, exacerbating my curvature. Everyday activities such as vacuuming or sitting for any period of time are painful and I stand with a very wonky posture. An hour of Pilates taught with a focus on elongation of the spine and proper muscle action results, for me, in a sense of lightness and spaciousness in the compressed areas of my spine and a visible improvement in my posture. I stand straighter, taller and pain-free. By consistently utilising a range of Pilates exercises to address imbalances, working both symmetrically and asymmetrically, it is possible to retrain the deep muscles of the trunk in order to rebalance the muscles and teach the body how to stand and move in better alignment, reducing the effects of the scoliosis.
I feel grateful to have Pilates as an integral part of my life with scoliosis, and honoured to be able to help other scoliosis sufferers explore the many ways in which Pilates can also help them to maintain and care for their spines. “