Finding Joy Through Successful Movement

It never ceases to amaze me  how a little success in movement can make such a big difference in one’s perceived level of health.  I recently had a patient  in her mid 60’s who had retired a few years ago.  Anxious to begin her retired life that she had worked so hard for resulted in two torn rotator cuffs (shoulder injuries), one total knee replacement, low back pain and a gain of 30 pounds.  She was so frustrated in her new retired life.  I asked her what  she wanted  now and her response was to not have pain.  In her physical evaluation she was not able to lift her arms even shoulder height due to pain, could not squat independently and low back pain did not allow her to bend forward.

30 minutes later we were on the Pilates equipment, using the Tower Bar sprung from above to assist her in lifting her arms over head and moving the scapula-thoracic complex.  We did some basic foot work looking at her alignment post knee surgery.   Unfortunately she did not have any PT following her surgery.  She was able to do a little bridging on the Reformer.  She was able to lift arms over head without pain, do a half squat without pain and bend forward touching her shins without pain.  She thought she just experienced a healing from Joseph Pilates.

The look on her face made my profession so worthwhile.  I am a firm believer that when we provide these successful movement experiences to our clients, it shifts their paradigm of well-being.  I have learned that one of the greatest attributes of Pilates and the like is the restoration of the individual’s belief that their body is built to function well and have a lot of potential.  If we push clients so hard that they have a negative experience then we only reinforce the soul’s inabilities.

I think if we follow an intention as practitioners to create a positive movement experience without pain that exceeds our client’s expectations, they will increase in overall function and joy that can only be found in successful movement.  I would love to hear about your experiences.

Dr. Brent


5 responses to “Finding Joy Through Successful Movement

  1. Dear Brent,

    I think it’s time for me to catch up with you 🙂

    First of all, I thank you for showing interest in working with amputees: since I was born with a hip displasia, I have always been attracted by those who have “less” than me.
    Also, coming from a professional swimming back-ground I have always watched, with extreme regard, those who can swim happily with only one leg or with no legs at all! I think they are a blessing for the “normal” beings, to remind us how, many things that we have, are not just granted.
    Therefore my interest in the movement and well-being.

    We met the last time in Sydney, at the first Australasian Polestar conference and I had come from New Zealand at that time. I got my studio certification at Maree’s (Seerdan) studio in Auckland…but you can read more on the bio of my web-site if you are interested 😉

    I have recently come back to Italy for family reasons and I have been very lucky to meet a wonderful Iyengar yoga teacher who trained in Miami.
    She owns a Yoga studio and she asked me to teach matwork for her. However, now, I mainly dedicate myself to teach one on ones from my little private studio.
    She then came with the idea of organizing some work-shops for her Pilates mat clients.
    I accepted.
    But here it comes the point: she advertised the work-shop as a Polestar Pilates work-shop, in order to distinguish me from the other Pilates teachers that come from Stott and Power Pilates and I know that that can only be done by “your appointment”.

    I don’t want to create any friction between me and the Polestar institution, that so much has given me. That is really the last thing I can think of!
    However, I am thinking that it could also be on your advantage to show what Polestar is and how it makes the difference, since my Yoga teacher and I have just started a collaboration with the Italian Olympic Sailing Team -thanks to my New Zealand experience-.
    These are the up-coming events we are promoting in synergy with the sailing :
    Unfortunately it’s all in Italian but you can understand it by simply watching at the pictures.
    The web-site of the yoga studio is: and
    where there is also the ad re the Pilates Workshop.

    I thank you for your time.
    I probably would have found many excuses not to find time and sit in front of my computer in order to write to you directly. But maybe this “dilemma” is a good a thing. At least to contact you again.

    My Kindest Regards,
    Luisa Pelissier 🙂

    • Dear Luisa,
      My best suggestion is to put yourself in contact with Serafino Ambrosio, our licensee for Italy. I am sure he would like to have you on his team, especially with you working with Sailing. You are right that you should not be posted as a Polestar workshop, but rather a polestar graduate that is teaching a workshop. It should be part of your credentials and not part of the title of a course. could be very misleading.
      I hope this finds you well and you continue to enjoy the blogs.
      Best of luck,
      Brent Anderson

      PS this blog is managed by my wife Lizette if you are wondering

  2. Brent,
    Thank you for the inspiring message. Success builds hope and hope motivates. Many patients have said “this gives me hope” after experiencing successful, painfree movement during rehab Pilates sessions.It does seem to shift paradigms, lifting their spirit, reempowering us to move beyond percieved limitations with gentle awareness

  3. Dear Brent and Lizette,

    Many thanks for the answer and your words.
    Serafino contacted me as soon as he received the news of the work-shop. We have now advertised it as a Pilates work-shop taught by two Polestar Pilates Practitioners. I think that it’s quite important to say that we come from the Polestar school so that the clients can see and understand the difference.
    Since it’s a work-shop on the lower extremities, in relationship with the rest of the body, we are blending the floor work with some of the exercises taken from contamporary dance, above all the study of the gravity.
    It’s great fun creating it.

    I shall let you know about the response of it amongst our clients.

    Definitely meditating has had some influence on the creative process and on the whole idea of it.

    So keep up with that and may meditating give you as much peace as inspiration in your life.

    Luisa Pelissier

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