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  • Writer's pictureMary-Ann Millar

Client Profile: Shari

Shari began her Pilates Journey in May 2023 and committed herself to 3 lessons per week. As she completed her 30th class, I was keen to find out how it was all going. We sat down for a coffee and a chat.

What do you do for work and for play?

I work in the banana industry, it’s exhausting! I run the shop and I am on my feet all day, carrying boxes and packs of produce 15-20kg in weight.

I am very dedicated to walking and hiking, I’m good with 30km in a day and I find it great for the mind. My son lives in Tasmania and some of my favourite trails are there, Cradle Mountain and the Overland Trail

What was it that brought you to Pilates?

I had been meaning to try Pilates for a long while. It goes right back to when I had my kids - I was too busy to repair my body back then; there was just no time to look after myself. As I turned 60, I took time to review. The lifting and carrying movements of my job were becoming ingrained in my body. I was strong, in one sense too strong in some areas, and too weak in others. My muscles were tight and I noticed that I was losing flexibility and mobility. Whilst I was cardio fit for hiking, I seemed to be losing endurance in my legs. I am very much and advocate of “use it or lose it” - I might be 60 but I feel 30 in my head and it’s a nasty shock when you find you can’t do something that you used to find easy.

I thought: ’I can’t be in this state when I turn 70. I need to regain my flexibility and mobility and I need to start now whilst I still feel strong and energetic’. I am determined to be independent and to enjoy my life for a long time into the future in robust health.

I found inspiration in this quote from Joseph Pilates too:

"In 10 sessions you'll feel the difference, in 20 sessions you'll see the difference, and in 30 sessions you'll have a whole new body” - Joseph Pilates

How did you hear about my lessons at Wiigulga?

It was my daughter who spotted that you were running a free class for International Pilates Day, back on the 6th May. It was the nudge that I needed and I liked that I could come and try without having to commit up front.

Where do you find the motivation to commit to 3 Pilates sessions a week?

I’m usually a starter and not very good at completing but this is different, it is all about health for me. I couldn’t lie to myself on this issue: I asked myself whether I was sure I was going to do it and the answer was “yes, come hail, rain or shine”. That’s why I choose to come to the 6am classes; there is nothing that can happen to stop me from getting there. Even if work ring me up and ask me to come in on an off day, I can still get to Pilates first. Once you break your determination, it’s easier to break it again. I don’t want to fall into that habit. I realised that, to give it a good go, coming once a week probably wasn’t going to do much and three times a week seemed do-able for me.

I view Pilates as proactive maintenance I’m balancing out my body and improving my movement so that I prevent injury and stay strong into the future.

You completed your 30th class last week, what changes have you noticed in your mind and body as a result of your Pilates practice?

I was carrying a lot of tension in my neck and shoulders and that was causing me headaches. That tension and the headaches have all gone and I’m able to sleep through the night.

I feel more comfortable in my body and my mind feels much more relaxed as a result. I am investing in myself for the first time in a long time and that feels good.

Until I started Pilates, I hadn’t realised how hunched and rounded my back and shoulders were. My posture is 100% better, so much so that even my 85year old father commented on it! I work on the Pilates exercises throughout the day - when I’m driving I think about drawing the shoulder blades down and back, for example.

When I’m standing and lifting at work I’m thinking about using my core and engaging the T-Zone (pelvic floor and transversus abdominus) to protect my back.

Oblique muscles are appearing around my waist.

My hamstrings have loosened off - I can sit up straight on the mat. I can squat to the floor and back up, pretty handy when putting air in car tyres or reaching into a low cupboard.

Pilates has literally changed my way of life!

Do you intend to continue with your Pilates journey?


What do you want to gain from Pilates in the future?

Continuous improvement in my movement, flexibility, coordination, balance and stability. I want to achieve a robustness of health so that I am able to recover from whatever life throws at me in the future.

What advice wold you give to someone starting Pilates?

  1. Set realistic goals.

  2. Persevere: commit to a good number of regular sessions to experience improvements.

  3. Accept that you won’t find it easy to start with.

  4. Acknowledge that progress is not always a straight line.

  5. Keep an open mind.

What have you liked about the classes you have attended?

I really like that I’ve found a like-minded group of people who get in, do the work and then get on with their day. It’s a welcoming and supportive environment. You don’t need fancy workout gear and nobody cares if you’ve done your hair or makeup!

How did your experience measure up against that Joseph Pilates quote?

After thirty sessions, do I have a whole new body? No. Do I have a much better body? Yes!

I’m keen to see what happens as I hit 60 and 90 sessions and where that will take me.

Thank you for sharing your journey, Shari!

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