If you’d told me 30 years ago that I would end up as a Pilates teacher, I wouldn’t have believed you!
I was that geeky kid who always had a book in hand, coke bottle glasses and an affinity for curling up with my cat and reading for hours.
But things change. I fell in love with theatre and worked as a stagehand at Phantom of the Opera for years. 18 hour days weren’t uncommon and I had to be tough and strong. I worked out at the gym. I was a 5’3”, 95 lb woman in a very male-dominated industry, hauling heavy gear and having a great time!
Until that day.
I was 24 years old and I had a back spasm that didn’t go away. For years.
Eventually, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, which was still a new condition at the time.
I worked when I could (the team at Phantom were incredibly supportive) and took time off when I couldn’t. We made decisions for things like going out for dinner at the very last minute, because I never knew if I’d be up to it.
Chronic pain was my life for the rest of my 20’s.
I’m one of the lucky ones, and my pain eased. Yay! I still had flare ups and blinding headaches, but I could mostly get through the days.
At one point I went to a new chiropractor who said I should do this thing called Pilates. I’d heard of it, in fact the dancers at Phantom had suggested it before (see, it all comes together!) so I was prepared to give it a try.
I loved it from minute one!
I’m hypermobile and yoga never worked for me, but this! I loved that I was in control of how I moved, that I was building strength, that I wasn’t encouraged to go as far as I could but instead to go to where I felt safe and strong. I loved that I got specific-to-me instructions and attentive cues that targeted my needs, even in a class setting.
I did private sessions, took endless classes, did my teacher training and never looked back!
Changing my movement changed my life. The flare ups became occasional days, the regular headaches a thing of the past.
I taught in my home when my kids were young, then I opened my studio, Boomerang Pilates, in 2011. I adore the community of amazing movers and skilled teachers I get to hang out with!
Over the years I’ve added Restorative Exercise and Roll Model Method self-massage certifications, done fascial anatomy dissections to deepen my understanding of how our amazing bodies move and now I’ve added the Bone Fit certification from Osteoporosis Canada.
Why did I do that?
I was diagnosed with osteoporosis, with advanced bone loss at 56 years old.
Despite my good diet, lots of movement and effective loading. My family history of severe, early-onset osteoporosis isn’t something I could avoid!
I feel better, stronger, fitter, than I did in my 20’s. I’m more resilient and better able to recover. I have way more understanding of how my body works, how my mind and body serve each other.
And now I have to change the way I move, exercise and teach.
And you know what? That’s ok!
Life isn’t static. Things change. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.
I have the tools to manage this change in my circumstances and now I get to share my knowledge and experience with YOU!
I’ve added more progressive strength training to my workouts, I’ve taken out the flexion (forward bending) but maintained the core work.
I still have a rewarding, challenging, restoring movement practice and you can too!
So if you have chronic pain and want to feel better, you have osteoporosis and want a safe, effective workout or you just love to learn more about how you move and want to feel better, more confident and more adept in your everyday life and hobbies… let’s work together!
“Alison has a well developed and all too rare “teacher’s eye”. She could see the misalignments and compensations I was engaging in to get around the pain and we worked out adjustments I could make to begin to change my patterns. Alison has a deep knowledge of anatomy (she would say geeky) and is able to get me to see and feel the connections between the physical limits I may be experiencing just from day to day living and how I can address these.”
Alison loves sharing videos for FREE on YouTube! There’s something for everyone.
“Experienced, nuanced and generous with her knowledge for all things movement. Alison is truly a gifted teacher and communicator and allows you to look at the complex human body in a totally different light. I’m grateful for any opportunity I get to learn from her!”
Yoga & Pilates Teacher
“You are a great translator and communicator Alison, so warm and relate-able but also clearly very very knowledgeable too. A rare mix.”
Pilates and Restorative Movement Teacher
“Alison is a wonderful teacher and teaching mentor. Her deep knowledge of movement and bodies is only matched by her empathy, warmth and enthusiasm. Alison has helped shape my teaching in many ways, ranging from helping me understand technical issues to supporting my confidence when I was struggling. She’s creative, resourceful, thorough and always focused on exploring for ways to help me help my own body and my students, and she’s the person I call to this day when there’s something I can’t figure out.”
Movement Coach and Business Owner
“I appreciate the gift of Alison’s teaching on both a personal and professional level.”
Osteopathic Manual Practitioner
Musings about movement
Hip Clunking: simple series for better hip mobility
Do you notice that your hip makes a clunking noise when you move your leg? I have some simple exercises to help you get rid of hip clunking and get more slide and glide in your mobility! Sometimes when I move my legs I can hear/feel a clicky kind of...
Improve your balance with these easy exercises
Do you worry about your balance? Does your sense of balance (or lack of it) stop you from doing things you love? Read on… I have some simple steps to help you! TL;DR: Don’t love reading and want to head straight for the exercises? Click here to go straight to the...
5 Magic Moves for Back Pain Relief
Whether it’s from shoveling snow, hauling laundry, lifting kids or sitting all day, we’ve all experienced that tired, tweaky back feeling. Fortunately, movement helps. The good news is that gentle movement is one of the best, most easily accessible, free ways to get...
Alison's MoveSMART Newsletter
You'll have first access to video tutorials & exercises featuring easy to understand anatomy, updates on classes and workshops and free resources for teachers and movers alike!