Inspiration of the Month May 2019 Brenda Kochanny

When did you start Pilates and what inspired you to start?     

My Pilates practice started as a joke. My girlfriends and I decided we needed to find an alternative to happy hour. In all seriousness, the joke turned into the feeling of my muscles getting longer and uncoiling from stress. When I started I had just had twins and was early in my trading career with high stress and high demands.  At this time I didn’t have time for exercise and I loathed exercising, but Pilates never felt like exercise to me, as I loved it. So, I bought the Windsor Pilates VHS tapes and off I went!

How often do you practice Pilates and what type of sessions or classes have you been doing?    

My goal right now is 3-5 times per week. I mix it up with Mat Class, Reformer, Roll/Release & Relax on Saturday morning, and Privates with Carey.  With some current health challenges if I can do Pilates this often I have found my body and pain level responds very well.  

What benefits or improvements have you noticed in your body and life from doing Pilates?  

Pilates for me is a big benefit to my stress and tension levels.  When I do an early morning class I stand taller and ready for the day. When I know it’s going to be a particular challenging day in the office I get to the early morning class. Being recently diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis & other Autoimmune Conditions Pilates has been a key to my journey to find my way back to less pain, function and decreasing fatigue. Pilates is less impact on my body and if I am having a particular hard day I can change my level of intensity or the way I do the exercise and still get movement in which is key to my health. Another key for my health is stress reduction.  Being in a high demanding Agriculture Commodity Trading business my neck and shoulders have been known to turn into cement.  Doing Pilates keeps me from turning into cement, which keeps me away from doctors and physical therapists offices.

Do you have a favorite exercise or piece of equipment (or both)?    

Favorite exercise is Seal & I love the Reformer!  The Seal reminds me of doing Pilates early on in my living room during the early morning hours and being terrible at it.  I couldn’t roll and my legs were going everywhere! My biggest concern was my husband seeing my crazy Seal legs and laughing at me. The reformer classes feel like my muscles stretch even further, which is always good for me. I love the different balls we use in Roll/ Release class and I have bought my own and they travel with me.  Some days I have to get them out during the day if it’s a harder day in the office and use them to roll out my neck and upper traps. If I do it sooner than later I have no headaches.

What would you say to someone who is thinking about doing Pilates? 

Do it… You can adjust each exercise or each class. Even if you aren’t feeling on your game you can get benefits of it.  If you’re looking for stress relief do Pilates. Coming from a person who has a love hate for exercise do Pilates. Pilates is an investment for today and for your future health.  I truly believe Pilates saves me from other medical bills.

How does doing Pilates make you a better Mom?    

Pilates has helped me with stress for the entire life of my kids. Over the last year my kids have seen me do less and be in pain. Getting a diagnosis, outlining a path on how to improve my health and doing Pilates consistently has helped reduce my pain and fatigue, so I feel like doing things again.  My kids will graduate high school this year so I need to stay active so I can travel to see them wherever their adventures take them.  I have many more years of being a part of my kid’s lives and Pilates is crucial to that.  Pilates keeps me grounded. I find so many times during my everyday life of using my breathing practice.

How has the journey of becoming a Pilates teacher effected your Pilates practice?  

Being a teacher has helped me be more aware of movement in my own body. I think there are a couple exercises that I was probably “hanging out”, so now I know how to engage more and reap the benefits.  Using different props in my practice has been very beneficial.


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