scorecardI started Pilates with the goal of doing the splits. I can now send my legs behind my head, and my back pain is healed.
  1. Home
  2. Science
  3. Health
  4. news
  5. I started Pilates with the goal of doing the splits. I can now send my legs behind my head, and my back pain is healed.

I started Pilates with the goal of doing the splits. I can now send my legs behind my head, and my back pain is healed.

Varisha Tariq   

I started Pilates with the goal of doing the splits. I can now send my legs behind my head, and my back pain is healed.
LifeScience2 min read
  • I started doing Pilates with the goal of learning how to do the splits.
  • I can't do the splits, but I've gained much more — I'm more flexible, and my back pain is healed.

Ever since I watched Kyle Richards do a split on "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" back in 2010 and then credit Pilates for it, I became obsessed with the idea of achieving the same. It looked so cool; I thought that if I could just master that one movement, I could challenge many stereotypes that exist about plus-sized bodies.

I lived in India, in a city called Lucknow. There was no Pilates studio or instructor there, and the way I'd always seen it on TV, I assumed it to be something that rich ladies in big cities do. I thought it would only be accessible to me once I moved away.

I finally tried Pilates when I moved to a big city

In 2022, when I moved to London, I found a gym and became a regular in three different Pilates classes with instructors who all had different styles. I wanted to find the right one for me. Two of the instructors used a lot of different equipment to practice it, like balls, rings, resistance bands, rollers, and blocks.

Still, the one I kept coming back to didn't use any equipment and was focused entirely on Contrology, a classical form of Pilates that relied solely on breathwork and control of the muscle through the mind. In this one-hour class, taught by an instructor named Richie, we simply moved through 25 out of 34 exercises that are part of Joseph Pilates's original Contrology.

I learned you don't need equipment to practice Pilates

In the beginning, I questioned whether this class was truly Pilates — I'd always thought that practicing it required reformer machines and many other small pieces of equipment. Here, there was no pomp, no frills; instead, I was relying solely on my body.

I have held so much resentment toward my plus-sized body, and have frequently let feelings of failure reside in my heart because of the limitations my body has had. I always felt intimidated by the equipment I'd assumed was necessary to practice Pilates, and assumed that it was just not for me, but in Richie's Contrology class, I learned that there was a form of Pilates I could practice anywhere, with just my body

It changed my relationship with my body

My original — and maybe superficial — goal was to be able to do splits. As a plus-size woman, I had never thought that my body would be capable of doing that, but I wanted to try by starting Pilates. Yet, in my pursuit to do splits, I healed back pain that had been plaguing me for over a year, strengthened my core, and I can now send my legs behind my head. While I am still far from doing splits, two years into doing Pilates, I realize that was a goal I was telling myself, but I actually had another subconscious goal.

Though I wanted to do splits, reaching for that goal post was a way for me to find an activity that would give my body increased flexibility and mobility. Not only has doing Pilates helped me to strengthen my body, it has helped me heal my relationship with it. Now, I am no longer afraid of things like long, taxing flights that give backache from sitting too long or working on my feet all day because Pilates has taught me how to take care of it.




Advertisement