I am thankful for Christmas because it launched me into my career as a Pilates instructor. More specifically, I am thankful for my first season dancing with the Rockettes in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. The picture above is me in my first season with the Rockettes in the dressing room wearing the opening reindeer costume. Our antlers lit up near the end to the first number. Oh the glamor of show business.

I am thankful for the picture because it reminds me how people in so much chronic physical pain can put on such a happy smile for the world to see, while internally they are hurting and just attempting to hold it together. My knees were in so much pain the night before the opening show that the cast manager brought me to an orthopedist after business hours. I was given numbing patches, anti-inflammatory pills, knee braces I was to wear anytime I wasn’t performing, and an order to ice my knees for 30 minutes after every show. There were many days that I had four, two-hour shows. I know pain. (Listen to me talk about my experience with the Rockettes on Dance Network’s podcast, Barretender, here).

I am thankful for my director that year who told me I needed to do Pilates to get stronger. I couldn’t believe she told me I wasn’t strong! I’d just performed the most physically grueling show every choreographed to date for the Rockettes and performed 110 shows in about a two-month time period. Once the Rockette season ended I took my first Pilates class.

I am thankful that my director was right, and it was proven that I wasn’t strong. Well, I had some muscles that were very strong and some muscles that really didn’t work at all. Going from the glitz and glam of being every little girl’s idol to barely being able to hold correct form with my knees in table top was a large dose of humble pie. The foam roller became my best friend and I’d have multi-day sessions with that bad boy as I’d roll out tissue that was too tight in my legs. I know pain.

I am thankful that anatomically correct Pilates worked. Within six months of extremely devoted time in the Pilates studio I was pain free and threw away my knee braces, numbing patches, and anti-inflammatory pills. My body was functioning so well that I decided to perform another season with the Rockettes, this time with no pain.

I am thankful for my clients who I’ve seen for over 10 years, for Spiral Spine Pilates’ new clients, and for the entire scoliosis community around the world who are motivated to being pain-free and are willing to put the effort in to making that wish become a reality. I pray blessings upon all of your bodies, minds, and souls and pray that Pilates will set your body free of pain in 2017.

Erin Myers