Meet Heather Dorak, the founder of LA's fastest growing Pilates studio, Pilates Platinum. Heather tells us how Pilates healed her life, helped her overcome an eating disorder, and also shares her philosophy on food and more!
MBG: Many people come to Pilates for healing...how did you come to Pilates/how did it heal your body?
HD: I was a dancer for many years and the repetitive practice of moves over the years resulted in injuries and chronic pain in my feet, ankles and lower back. Because of the pain, I tended to over compensate my movements in one area of the body over the other which affected my alignment as well. As I was considering options for therapy, a friend of mine introduced me to Pilates. I took several classes and noticed an immediate improvement. Unlike many other training program Pilates works the whole body emphasizing control, precision and concentration in the mind, body and spirit. The focus on core stabilization makes one stronger from the inside out which is critical in healing and strengthening the body. Pilates is low impact which makes it ideal for injury prevention and rehabilitation. The balance between strength and flexibility creates a healthy , symmetrical workout for all muscle groups resulting in a leaner , more balanced and stronger body. My health and energy level improved dramatically after taking Pilates classes and I no longer experience any pain. My own personal successes led me to open my first Pilates studio with the goal in mind to inspire others to create implement and achieve their own health and fitness goals.
How did Pilates help you overcome an eating disorder?
Being a dancer for many years created a lot of body image issues and led into an eating disorder which was very difficult to overcome. My eating disorder affected my mind, body and spirit. In combination with the chronic pain that I was experiencing , my emotional level and loss of self greatly affected the quality of my life. Taking Pilates classes was my first step in the recovery process as it addressed the pain that I had been experiencing. As the pain diminished and my body became stronger I started to pay greater attention to my overall health and nutrition. I realized that having a stronger body while struggling with an eating disorder was completely counter productive. It wasn’t easy, but I started taking small steps to improving all aspects of my health. My family and friends supported and coached me through the process. The next big step that contributed to my recovery was opening my first Pilates studio. I quickly realized that in order to be effective with my clients I had to be honest with them and with myself. I knew that I would achieve greater success if I was as strong and healthy as possible and this idea in itself created a continued path of wellness.
How/why can Pilates empower someone to overcome obstacles in their life?
Pilates emphasizes a lifestyle. It's not a fad or trendy workout -- Pilates can truly change your body. Results are achieved in a short amount of time and I see it all the time from people at my studio. They become more self confident as they accomplish more and this motivates and empowers them to address other obstacles in their lives as well. They begin to make a long term commitment to their overall daily lives, activities and relationships the same way that they approach their fitness goals which brings them greater success and encourages them to take their lives to the next level.