Hi, I'm Andi I have a movement disorder known as Dystonia. This causes spasms and abnormal posturing. I don't walk well. I use a wheelchair to get around outdoors and a walker indoors. I became interested in Pilates as I have done Yoga before and it seemed very similar. I was getting weaker and having problems just getting up from a chair. Bettina Blank who has worked with OHSU Parkinson's patients recommended Circle Studio and they introduced me to Dana. In the summer of 2015, I began practicing Pilates once a week in the studio, as well as, on my own at home. I've just been getting better and better from there.
Q. What physical differences/changes have you noticed since beginning a regular Pilates practice?
A. The main noticeable difference to others is I've lost 16 pounds. But that really wasn't my main goal. My core is definitely stronger, I stand up straighter, my arm doesn't hurt as often and I have more range of motion in my arm and my back doesn't hurt anymore. I also I have a lot more energy/stamina.
Q. Have you noticed any activities that have become easier?
A. Most activities are easier due to increased stamina. But for me it's the little things (things a lot of people take for granted). I can get out of the chair by myself. I can do the laundry without my back feeling like it's going to break. I can clean my teeth with my right hand (my bad arm). I can ride my trike as I have more stamina and a stronger core to sit up. I managed a 10 mile ride a few weekends ago :)
Q. Would you recommend Pilates to others with physical challenges? If so, what advice would you give them?
A. I would recommend Pilates to anyone of any physical ability. The exercises can be adapted to suit your needs/goals. You don't have to go mad and expect to be super bendy within a few months. Pilates is about strength and control and above all patience. Changes will take quite some time but if you stick with it and practice regularly you will reap rewards.
Instructor comment: I admire Andi's commitment and drive. She has made amazing progress. Each time we meet, we are able to do more, and to do it better. It is a pleasure to work with her and to see her confidence in herself and her abilities increase. I have no doubt that Andi will achieve and surpass the fitness goals she has set for herself. This awesome photo of Andi, her dog, Penny, and her new 'tricked-out' trike was taken by her husband, Layttan.