Lack of symmetry between the two sides of the spine can lead to uneven stress on the vertebrae and imbalance use of the muscle, which may eventually lead to pain. When one muscle is weak and the other is overactive, it pulls your body into bad posture—like rounded shoulders or an excessively arched lower back—which also limits mobility at your joints and makes certain muscles stiff. Regardless of its cause (e.g. scoliosis or uneven muscle development), it is important to assess in the initial stages. To correct imbalances, you should first understand the imbalances as well as you can through alignment assessments and muscle testing. From there, you can work with our Pilates instructors to realign the body as best you can and to work on specific muscle imbalances as needed.
The general principle with scoliosis is to stretch the inside of the curve, strengthen the outside of the curve, and maintain as balance an alignment as possible in every exercise. As many of us have discovered or will discover in the future, this can be much easier said than done! But don’t fret – our instructors understand that everyone’s imbalances are unique and will accommodate as appropriate while ensuring progression. For example, if you have trouble with compression, we may avoid chain leg and foot work exercises and instead focus more on stretching or Barrel exercises. Those who have trouble with leg work will be instructed to focus on arm work, using implicit abdominal strengthening. For those whose imbalances cause them to favor neutral or extension (common with disc injuries and sciatica), lumbar support may be used in supine work.
The most important thing to remember is that Pilates is a flexible exercise system. Modifications to the exercises allow for a range of difficulty ranging from beginning to advanced. We can cater a workout that best suits you now, and increase the intensity as your body conditioning improves.