I preach to my students all the time about finding balance, working on muscular discrepancies, being aware of a strength, weakness or tightness that is not uniform in their body. It’s why we do single leg work and isolate one muscle or muscle group at a time. It is an integral part of Pilates and one of the many benefits of the reformer and Pilates apparatus in general.
But lately I’ve noticed in my own body as I’ve been demonstrating mermaid (a side bend/oblique stretch on the reformer) that I am significantly tighter on my left side. I started wondering why? It didn’t take me long to realize that as a right handed person, I carry my purse, gym bag, computer, groceries, etc. in my left hand so my right hand is free to unlock the door, grab the keys and so on. This puts me at a bit of a left tilt … stretching out my right side a bit each time I carry objects on the left. It is things as simple as this that can over time lead to issues. Once I noticed this I started looking at how I stand…you guessed it – I tend to lean to one side more than the other. I sit on the sofa in a soft slump. All of this repetitive unbalanced behavior adds up and can create issues for us that we may not even realize we are creating. It’s a gradual thing but also something we can we can work on without too much effort!
How do you stand? How do you carry your purse, child and computer? It’s very common for women to carry their child on one hip – leading to issues over time. How do you watch TV? No one said you need to go through life perfectly symmetrical – but pay attention – and from time to time carry your bags on the other side, switch your child to the other hip or stand on the other foot. Lean the other way. Or adjust your posture as you sit on the sofa. Small changes can help you find balance and prevent future issues.
Another way to think about this … we rotate the tires on our car so they get even wear. Rotate your stance too!
A little body awareness goes a long way! And one of the best ways to uncover you imbalances are in a pilates class … and then we can work to figure out why!