Welcome back to THE SASS EDIT! Now that we’re fully into November and hurtling towards the most wonderful (but also potentially stressful) time of the year I’m on a mission to learn more about how we can support our physical and mental health - subjects we’re all very passionate about here at EARSASS. The art of practising Pilates is something I really wanted to learn more about and so I was thrilled to be able to chat to Pilates teacher Sarah Pilgrim about her own personal Pilates journey which has taken her from birth trauma to business owner.
How did you first become interested in Pilates?
So my interest started due to lower back problems after having my first child 12 years ago. He was a pretty heavy baby and it was quite a traumatic birth. I suffered badly with back pain from thereon in. I discovered Pilates and found it really helped with the pain and so my interest started from there. My body shape also means I’m predisposed to lower back pain- I’m Lordotic which means my pelvis is tilted forward. So I have a nice proud chest but also stick my bottom out! This means that as you age the lower spine starts to impact and so the vertebrae become closer and closer and it becomes more uncomfortable. What you need to do is strengthen the abs and pull the spine straight to tilt the pelvis back to neutral. I used to find the worst positions were like when you’re washing dishes particularly because you’re slightly pulling your tummy away and my lower back used to hurt like mad. Bathing the kids is another one! I found just general living became uncomfortable. But so many people who suffer with this are also Lordotic.
What is the difference between Yoga and Pilates?
The major difference between Yoga and Pilates is that Yoga is more of a holistic approach because it’s to do with the mind as well whereas Pilates is more about the physical- it’s more clinical and scientifically based. It revolves around strengthening the core and straightening the spine basically. It’s about making sure your body is physically in line so it’s at its best for everything else it does.
What inspired you to start your own Pilates business?
I was doing a lot of Pilates due to my lower back pain and then when Covid struck I found out that I’m not very good at sitting still! So I thought ‘why not do my level 1 diploma?’ I was practising so much Pilates anyway that it seemed like a great way to continue doing that and learn to teach at the same time. The other thing was I became perimenopausal and I felt a lack of contentment, I wasn’t getting the fulfilment I needed from work. It's really important to have that time away from commitments to fulfil your own needs. So I started to study, which was difficult during Covid lockdowns as it was all online, we only were able to go into the studio a few times. It was tough, but my passion for Pilates is so strong that I discovered when you study something you love it’s so much easier. I qualified just before Christmas and some of my wonderful friends were case studies for me and by January the business had taken off. I do lots of one to one teaching, which I had really wanted to do as it means I can use my learning from my studies to mould a session around someone’s injuries or needs. In that way I’m helping them more but I’m also learning more too. I'm now also running three classes too - it’s great.
You mentioned perimenopause as having a big impact on your life- how do you feel Pilates has helped you through this time?
The perimenopause started for me during Covid lockdown when I was 42. It began with anxiety and I’m naturally a very positive person and so developing anything like this for me felt totally alien. I see it in people around me - but that’s just not me. So I had anxiety and then a bit of depression kicked in, although lockdown was an incredibly difficult time- juggling home schooling, full time work pressure… I spent quite a lot of time in the toilet crying and pretending I was fine. I had bad palpitations, the bottoms of my feet would get super hot as though they were on fire, I had the feelings of rage and anger. But it was the vaginal atrophy that tipped me over the edge - it was excruciating and not something you really feel like you can talk about - especially at the office when you’re trying to work. We still don’t talk about vaginal pain commonly as a symptom - we’ll discuss almost everything but. I found that doctors didn’t understand how to treat me, I was offered antidepressants three times which was not what I felt I needed. I actually said to one doctor "why would I take medication for one of these seven symptoms that I’m feeling, whereas if you give me oestrogen then all of them may decrease?"… she didn’t really know what to say to that. I tried a lot of homoeopathy and herbal supplements which I still use alongside my HRT. Now I’m into a different stage, I’ve been taking HRT for about 18 months which has helped significantly. But now my major issue is the brain fog which is so hard to cope with when you’re trying to organise a million different things for two children, run your own business and work full time in a sales environment. But there are a few things that have really helped and Pilates is a godsend. When I’m in a foul mood and stressed out at work I teach Pilates in my office during lunch breaks with my colleagues. It’s amazing. I can be so stressed out and anxious and uncomfortable and just… a bundle of crap. But then I go and teach and I come back up and I’m fine - it just totally resets me.
I’m really not flexible, have pretty awful balance and no experience - can I still practise Pilates? (asking for a friend!!)
100% yes! All of those things mean you should be doing Pilates. I really would encourage anyone who feels they are becoming slightly immobile, have any back or neck pain - we’re all hunched over our phones so much now. All of these things are taking our spine out of that nice straight alignment. If you are uncomfortable in a class (and this has been said to me many times before) find the right teacher and the right environment for you and take it in small steps. The great thing about Pilates is that it’s altered to meet your own personal needs and ability. Pilates is there for everybody, just give it a try!
A Right Royal Occasion
His Majesty King Charles will be celebrating his 75th birthday on the 14th November. Although he has already celebrated his ‘official’ birthday in June with the King’s Birthday Parade, we imagine his actual birthday will be a more private affair (but just imagine all those crown jewels on display as they waltz the night away…)
In honour of The King’s big day we love these 18K gold- plated crown studs. Small but perfectly formed they elevate your look with their understated regal elegance and are perfect for any occasion - royal or not. I personally can't wait to try stacking these with other EARSASS beauties!
A Match Made in Heaven with Iolla Eyewear
Thank you so much to everyone who dropped in to see us at our recent pop-up with the fantastic Iolla Eyewear in St James Square, Edinburgh - we had the most amazing time and loved every minute. And a huge thanks to Iolla for being such wonderful hosts! If you haven’t heard about Iolla, they design high quality contemporary eyewear at a surprisingly affordable price.
Their brand ethos means Iolla and EARSASS are the perfect pairing and our beautiful Jaz had this to say about them “Like EARSASS Iolla utilises eco-acetate as a primary material in their products. This is made from plant based materials which are much kinder to the environment. Iolla shares our passion for bringing expressive and colourful fashion to everyone in a sustainable way. We loved creating different looks by combining their beautiful glasses with lots of SASS appeal!”
Watch out for more fashion tips on accessorising with Iolla in the future!