Review by Cara Nitz
Just recently, I received the Pilates Deck, which is a set of 50 pilates exercise cards that allow you to make up your own sequences and develop a workout within your timeframe and skill level. I love the freedom these cards give you. I know we are all busier than ever, and these cards make it possible to get your workout in no matter how much time you can spare. Even if you only have 10 minutes, you can use a few warm up cards, then add in as many of the Pilates exercises that you want. They are illustrated and well explained, so that anyone can use them! And they are perfect to take on trips to get your workout in no matter where you are.
The author of the Pilates Deck, Shirley Archer, is an award-winning author of over 12 books on fitness and wellness, a media spokesperson, magazine columnist, and more. She promotes physical, mental and spiritual health and well-being for people of all ages and abilities by providing motivating and easy to use self-care products and services that are available worldwide. Shirley recovered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and dedicated herself to health promotion. She inspires me, and I wanted you to get to know her a little more, so I interviewed her. Get ready to be inspired!
1. How did you recover from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? When conventional medical doctors told me that I may never feel any better, that was an answer I was unwilling to accept. I realized that I had been passively waiting for the doctor to tell me how I should become well. It was then that it struck me that only I had the power and the determination to create my own well-being. What I needed was knowledge on how to create my own health.
From there, I worked with a naturopathic doctor to rebuild the foundation of my health through good nutrition. I worked with bodyworkers and trained to be a massage therapist to learn how to release tension and anxiety from my body. I practiced yoga and meditation to strengthen the connection between my mind and body. I studied exercise and became a certified health and fitness instructor. I started a very gradual exercise program beginning with walking no more than 10 minutes at a time. If I did more, I would become weak and likely get sick again. It was very difficult for me, a classic type A person, to take such small baby steps, but eventually I became strong and healthy once again.
2. How has that affected your life and work now? I’m constantly reminded about the importance of balance and authenticity in all things. I work to align my inner values with the work that I contribute to the world (my teaching, writing and public speaking) and to the commitment that I bring to my family and to my community.
I meditate regularly to stay in tune with my inner self and connected to how I genuinely feel. When I’m feeling tired, I take it easy. I balance work with leisure, good nutrition with regular exercise, and focus on good quality sleep and positive relationships.
3. What is your best advice to stressed out, overworked moms? Self-care is NOT selfish. Do NOT feel guilty to take time for yourself. It’s too easy to put everyone else’s priorities above your own; however, you can only give as much as you have within yourself. Keeping yourself strong and happy is the best way to ensure that you give your best to your work and to your family and friends.
Make a commitment to take time for your own health and well-being in small ways each day. Your loved ones will support this if you set the model.
4. After traveling as much as you have and meeting so many amazing people, what is the most important thing you have learned? Wow! These are tough questions, but good ones.
I would say that it is very important amidst all the stimulation to cultivate some sort of mind-body or mindfulness practice that keeps you connected with YOUR inner voice and YOUR inner wisdom. There are so many amazing people in this world and so much to learn; however, all information is offered through a filter.
To learn how to take what you experience and process it through your own understanding and make it your own is how you can truly benefit. You must be strong enough to trust your own self. And, wise enough not to get caught up in your own ego.
My personal belief is that we must always be grateful for what we can learn from our experiences and always make an effort to leave the world a better place for our presence in it. The preservation of the health of our planet is linked very closely to the health of humanity.
Thank you, Shirley!! Her wise thoughts are useful for me, and I hope you all were able to take as much from that interview as I did.
You can find more information about Shirley Archer and her products on her website. You can also buy the Pilates Deck on Amazon.