My Back, by Suz

 

A healthy spine – and an ambition to do a backbend! To get to the point of a backbend, I, like many of my clients, had to overcome what was going on in my head as well as in my body. I had to learn to ignore the false beliefs – here’s my story… 

My body was so overdeveloped in one plane (the saggital plane) – by running, doing triathlons and so much Pilates - that I overdeveloped my core muscles in the front of my tummy. It looked great and everyone was super impressed, my ability to perform sit-ups was off the chart in terms of strength – it was my very impressive show-off routine... BUT my back was aching so much in bed at night and the only position I could find that was good for my back wasn’t so good for my neck. Nurofen became my short-term solution. 

Back in the studio, I looked at people doing backbends with great admiration but I was always the one shaking like a leaf when I was standing with both arms above my head, aiming to bend backwards, even just a few degrees. My mind said “I have never been able to do a back bend; my back is not built for that”. Coupled with that, everything in my upbringing – parents, media, physio in general and teachers around me - taught me that these types of movements were ‘inadvisable’ as they might damage the spine. (Yes they will damage you when performed wrongly and too vigorously….as with any other exercise.) So I consoled myself with my impressive core instead. 

Finally I acknowledged my fears to Marco and was so surprised when he shared with me how he had struggled and how long he had been working to get to that point himself. We stripped it down, I took a leap of faith and Marco helped me, by guiding me from the first foundations of a back bend and encouraged me to stay with it. Of course it was tremendously hard and uncomfortable but amazing to remove the barrier and it gave me such a feeling of self-empowerment. And guess what – my back never broke! 

Not long after we started, I noticed that my back pain in bed had subsided. No more rolling about, adding pillows and trying to find a comfortable position. I was not aware of my back in any position, in fact when I was aware of my back, it felt great. I started to experience flexibility in my spine at all levels and my neck also felt better. 

I also realised how weak and stiff I was in the sides of my body (lateral flexion) and ‘got’ how important these muscles are to my core and I started to focus on them instead. 

The beauty now is that I still have a six-pack without having to train. That’s because these muscles work in so many other ways, for example, doing a proper plank and practicing ‘hollow body’ for shoulder mobility and strength. My sleep is pain free, I have confidence that I can move my back in any direction and I feel strong, yet light. In fact; I never even think about engaging my core. I just think about the aim of the movement, how it feels and I use my own intuition, to modify and interpret it. 

My back-bend journey is still continuing, there are still places that I want to go to, because I love a challenge and will always see if I can squeeze something more out of a single bone – that is my nature! It has taken 18 months, but the joy started to kick in after about 6 months. I am a confident back-bender now, I never ever in a million years thought I would ever say this. 

We want to give this gift of “empowerment and freedom” to you too. All those people out there that think that they are not fit enough, skinny enough, strong enough, never good at coordination, it does not matter how old you are. If there is anything inside of you that wants to be able to do something, whatever that is….turn up, be honest, trust, commit and start the journey. 

Marco, my back and I will be forever grateful. Thank you! Suz xx

 
SF Studios