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In my Experience: Instructors recount how mindful movement changed their clients’ lives

Laurentia shares her mindful movement experience

Laurentia Kavriani, Vitruvian Pilates Studio
Jakarta, Indonesia
Merrithew Instructor Trainer in STOTT PILATES® and Total Barre®

Three years ago, a longtime client of Laurentia’s was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to have surgery on her left side. After the surgery, the client had significantly less strength and range of motion than before.

“She had a hard time putting her hand on the small of the back,” Laurentia recalls.

Laurentia designed a program that went “back to basics,” combining the STOTT PILATES Five Basic Principles and elements of the Merrithew Fascial Movement Foundation Course.

“First I had to get her to mobilize her shoulder joint, upper extremity and spine. Once they stopped being so ‘adhesive’, I started to strengthen mostly her posterior shoulder and upper back. Lastly, I started to introduce some endurance elements, integrating everything from head to toe,” Laurentia says.

“The goal was to help her move pain free again and have a positive body image.”

Laurentia’s program emphasized breathing technique for relaxation and release of stiff and tight muscles.

“I used a lot of Fascial Movement in the beginning of our post-surgery program. I used the Mini Stability Ball to encourage a gentle and supported bouncing motion to loosen up the shoulder joint.”

Once the client’s mobility improved, Laurentia started to reintroduce some strength training on the Reformer and Stability Chair.

It took about six to 12 months to get the client back to where she was before surgery. But in the end, the program was a success: the client regained shoulder mobility to her full range of motion without any pain or any compensation patterns.

Laurentia using Mini Stability Ball with client on Mat

“She was very ecstatic to be able to put her hand behind her back without putting her shoulder in an awkward position,” Laurentia says.

When working with cancer survivors, Laurentia says having empathy is of utmost importance.

“When they come in for a session, it’s not just about getting them to work out, it’s about understanding and acknowledging their overall wellbeing and encouraging them to respect their own limitations,” she says.

“Ask how their day’s been, whether they’ve had enough rest, hydration and good nutrition. Those were the first things we did before we started our sessions together.”

“I feel humbled that I got to play a small part in guiding her to recovery. However, all credit goes to her because it was her positivity, dedication and determination that enabled her to regain her strength and get back to her normal range of motion.”

See more of Laurentia in action @cavrianinmotion


Stuti Shah, founder, Core Tuck-In
Ahmedabad, India
STOTT PILATES Certified Instructor; physical therapist

Stuti’s client was an 80-year-old woman with a number of health problems. She had a medical history of high cholesterol and high blood pressure, as well as osteoarthritis in her knees and chronic low back pain.

“She wanted to start with some basic exercises for pain relief and strengthening. She came to me as I am a physical therapist and I explained how I could use Pilates to help her,” Stuti says.

“I used some basic physical therapy modalities, like Interferential Therapy (IFT) and Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation therapy (TENS), and complemented that by teaching her the STOTT PILATES Five Basic Principles and Essential level exercises from the Matwork repertoire.”

Stuti’s exercise program aimed to help the client build strength, balance and stability while taking her age and medical conditions into account.

She started with some simple warmup exercises and then graduated the client to modified STOTT PILATES Matwork exercises, such as Ab Prep, Toe Taps, One Leg Circle with modification, Shoulder Bridge with modification.

“I personally like to add lot of breathing and balancing movements in older age groups. My program focuses on maintaining their basic strength, keeping them injury free, working on their core and back strength, building their stability and balance, and maintaining an element of fun. They always tend to become more involved if they find it interesting,” she says.

Stuti worked with the client four days a week for about seven months and saw some satisfying results.

“I saw that Pilates worked so well in strengthening the core, which is very important for strengthening and supporting the low back. We focused on the ‘corset’ of muscles that extend from the back’s posterior chain to the core’s anterior chain, and by strengthening those, she was able to maintain better strength, control, balance and stability.

“It felt so amazing to help this client. Since then, I have had many other senior clients, and so many chronic low back pain clients. Recently I have seen a lot of total knee replacement clients as well and the results have been very positive.”

See more of Stuti in action @core_tuck_in

Have an inspiring client story? Email us at communications@merrithew.com

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