How Much Can a Passport Reveal? My Pilates Transformation

By On February 9, 2014 · Leave a Comment

I hate having my picture taken. Add on to that high fees and lots of paperwork and you can understand why I put off renewing my passport. If it weren’t for my love of travel, I probably would have just put it off forever.

Ten years had passed since I last renewed my passport. I was in college finishing a grueling semester that had thrown out my back. Somewhat recovered but still in bad condition, I managed to get myself in front of a camera and pose for a passport photo. Good thing a 1.5-by-1.5-inch photo from the neck up doesn’t show much, right?

Wrong! Check out the pictures below!

Jenny's passport photos, ten years and many Pilates sessions apart.The first photo was taken ten years ago before the second, just before I started practicing Pilates. The second photo was taken last year after ten years of Pilates, during nearly four of which I was teaching Pilates. Notice a difference?

I did! In fact, the difference was so unexpected and so profound that I literally stood with my mouth open, speechless for a few seconds. I looked closer. I held up the photos to better lighting. Is that really me?! And ten years older?!

I know my body is in much better health than it was ten years ago. Not only have I strengthened by back and improved my posture, but I have improved my diet, lost a bit of weight, and found a general level of contentment in life. I regularly see how my body has transformed when I look at old photos. However, I was not prepared for a small photo from the neck up to reveal much at all.

But it does: Anyone can see that my neck is a good inch or two longer and that my shoulders are not rounded forward. Digging deeper, my Pilates-trained eyes can also see that my head sits on top of my spine rather than shearing forward, my clavicles are nearly horizontal, and my left sternocleidomastoid (a neck muscle) carries much less tension. My Pilates-trained eyes (and the perfectionist in me) also see further room for improvement, but that is for another blog!

Through the drudgery of government paperwork, I was forced to look in the mirror and see a remarkable transformation. And the fact that this mirror reflected only so much allowed me to really focus and note the depth of the transformation. What an unexpected and pleasant surprise!

What transformations, small or large, have you noticed since taking up Pilates or making other positive changes in your life? Please, share them below!

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