Pilates is Much Like Gardening

When tended, how my Garden Blooms!

That may seem like an odd comparison but I think there are actually many similarities. Lets take a look …

When I first bought my house, it was clear the previous owners had put time and effort into landscaping the yard. It was also obvious this effort had not been maintained in quite a while! I could see how bushes were planted symmetrically and gardens were framed but they were also overgrown and untrimmed. Isn’t that some times like our bodies? Maybe you were a high school athlete or used to run marathons before babies or practiced Pilates regularly until your career exploded. Your body will still shows signs of that fitness despite some time of not really maintaining it. All the muscle you worked for will not just disappear over night but sometimes extra weight and less tone do creep in when we can’t keep up the same fitness level.

With my yard and flower gardens, I initially felt overwhelmed! There was so much that needed to be tended to and to be honest … gardening is not my favorite thing!  How many of us have felt overwhelmed when faced with losing more than a couple pounds or starting a new exercise regime or trying Pilates for the first time??? And for some, working out is just not nirvana!!

My life was busy, being a new home owner in Nashville and in a relativity new job as well. I did not have all day to devote to yard work or gardening. I had to fit in what I could between my other responsibilities and even between the fun things I wanted to do. So it often goes with fitness – family demands, job demands, social demands can get in the way. We have to find times to work in working out. If we had the luxury of being able to workout a few hours a day – we could certainly meet our goals quicker! How nice to be able to spend an hour with Pilates every day? But who has that luxury anymore?

Little by little I attacked my yard and gardens and I began to see some progress. There was still a long way to go but as I stood back and looked I could see improvement. It made me happy to see I was succeeding! My hard work and often unpleasant work (hello chiggers!!) was paying off. Isn’t it the same with working out or committing to Pilates? That first compliment you get or the first time you notice your pants fit better or your arms have some definition you are paid back for your efforts! The sore muscles or early morning sessions don’t seem so bad when there is progress! It’s that recognition of progress that makes us keep going and smile!

Fast forward a few years, and my flower beds have been replanted. I have purple iris’s blooming in splendor and strangers feeling the need to tell me how great it looks!  What a transformation and reward for all my work! Just like reaching our fitness goal, we reap the rewards of feeling better, living better and compliments galore.

BUT … here is the tricky part. We can not rest on our laurels. We can not achieve our goal and stop. Last fall, I knew it was time to redo my flower beds. They had become over crowded once again, but life was getting in the way. I was dealing with a troubled marriage and an abusive husband and that needed my focus more than flower beds. There are also times in our lives when fitness may not fit in so well. Some times our priorities need to be on an elderly family member, new babies, launching new businesses, saving marriages or rebuilding a life. While I think fitness can help us in our times of needs, I also realize some times we are just getting by. The good news is when we slip a little bit, we know how to get back. We’ve tended to our gardens and bodies before and we know we can succeed again. The key is not to fall to far behind. Do the little things … for the garden – pluck a few weeds, water occasionally … or for the body take a brisk walk, do a plank or a few push ups from time to time. Can’t go to Pilates class a few times a week anymore – try for once a week or even once every other week if that is all you can do for now.

This summer, I’m pulling weeds again and planning to replant my bulbs in the fall. I’m not beating myself up for missing a chance last fall. I know I can succeed again and my gardens are still far better than they were when I bought the house! I realize that if I want to have a nice yard and flower gardens, I have to work out it consistently. There is no point of ‘finished’. Much the same with Pilates and fitness, it is something we must commit to working at regularly. We can not achieve our goals and then hang up our leg straps or handles! I think the outcome and rewards are definitely worth the effort whether you are working on a pretty garden or a strong, healthy body!





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