Linda Elsea, Certified Pilates Teacher
Remember when Mom used to say, “Don’t bite off more than you can chew” and “Your eyes are bigger than your stomach?” We wanted it all, and we wanted it now. We lived and grew up wanting instant gratification and ignoring basic principle. How many years was it before my father’s words finally made sense. “Linda, it’s the principle of the thing that matters.”
That principle or fundamental truth began showing up rather glaringly when I decided to take up the fitness banner as a career years ago. I felt I was smart enough to train myself without going through all that education. I would get “ripped” first then apply for certification testing and pass with flying colors. That lasted about three weeks. I pulled my sacroiliac joint out of alignment and was confined to walking on hands and knees for several days. Then I decided to try race walking. I started at top speed around the track at the gym and before I finished the second round, my heart was racing so hard it took two hours for it to slow down to a normal beat. Scrap that. Now the principle of start small began to make sense. Going back to basics and working up to intermediate and advanced levels set a certain order to learning that gave me a sense of direction and purpose.
Once the principle of order was established and the goal and purpose understood that, other principles began to take shape. Persistence and patience took a bit more work. I found myself easily discouraged and not motivated because I wanted it all right now. Stubborn though I was, I still had enough common sense to understand at I had to have knowledge with qualified instruction and self practice to understand how to operate correctly. Mistakes don’t mean failure. Mistakes mean slow down, do it again, be precise, develop an easy rhythm until it flows smoothly. Expect some struggle in the sense of growth, development and gain.
Now 30 years later, I’m thinking, what’s the point to this kind of struggle at this age? What purpose does persistence really serve in the struggle against aches and pains, fatigue, or loss of any physical ability? I think the point is this: in any struggle we get stronger in some way, physically, mentally or spiritually. And what we gain is growth, and growth leads to a life lived more fully and with more joy each day, and that’s a big principle at any age.
Pilates reformer lessons are available for Sun Lakes residents; call Linda at 480-721-0493.