A pink taxi

A pink taxi

January 7, 2011

Pilates Studio

I never thought I would make it into any studio. The studio I am speaking of, isn't a single room apartment, but an area where an art can be practiced. I don't have any dance, photography, fine art or music talents. I never took gymnastics either.

How I  have ended up in a pilates studio is mind boggling.

When I was younger, I was introduced to the concept of grace and poise in  ballet classes.  I then eagerly took up  karate, which  taught me dedication, respect of the art and which also built up my strength, endurance and motivation. But still I never would have imagined myself in a pilates studio!

In the 80s, I used to enjoy watching the TV serial "Fame" and I think the first R rated  film that I watched was "Flash Dance". Pilates is only distantly related to dance but the atmosphere is quite similar. Sometimes, when the studio gets full with a class and various privates are simultaneously taking place, with all the instructors giving their cues and the students following diligently, I  discreetly steal glances at the impressive scene, and remember the discipline that transpired in the show Fame!

None of us are leaping in the air but the hard work is comparable. My instructor once told us that pilates was the art of contrology. Every move we make is controlled and precise. We are only allowed to stop when asked. We must follow instructions at all times. In this studio, we are not even allowed to take a break for a drink of water!

Our expressions must remain serene at all times. No strain is allowed to transpire. There is no complaining about pain: we must go beyond its threshold. When I bring my tired or aching muscles to the studio, they must stretch and complaints have to be interiorized. Here, encouragement is for performance and not about physical results. The body transfomations are almost secondary.

Consequently, I no longer pay attention to my shrinking jean size when I do pilates. My goal is to learn its art, because it is such a complex and detailed sport! The choreography is demanding on my memory and my concentration and coordination. When the instructor requests commitment, he expects us to put our minds to strengthening our bodies. "Commit to your arms, they are yours. They shouldn't feel heavy."

I mix and match classes, regardless of levels. I always learn a lot in the intermediate classes. When I attend an advanced class, I feel privileged. The control that comes through reminds me of a serene tai-chi class in a park To have attained this level of understanding,  I have proven my dedication and taken countless classes. Finally, it really clicked.

There is a bounce in my step when I leave Club Stretch.

1 comment:

  1. When our beloved blogger first started her Pilates journey 6 years ago this coming February 26th (I checked our database for accuracy!)I have to admit that I had my doubts that she would continue for long. She struggled not just with the controlled precise movements but seemed also to struggle to connect with the feeling of where to create the movements. I did not have the benefit like most of the readers of this blog of knowing just how tenacious and committed she could be in the pursuit of her goals and that the more she struggled the stronger her determination to master it would become! It took a while for me to realize that one of the major stumbling blocks to her progress was her formidable intellect. You see, Pilates is not something you can think or theorize your way through. You have to experience it, feel it, and not over-think. The mind has to stay in the moment with the body and not race ahead. I came to recognize a certain facial expression of our dear blogger's that always let me know when she was so deep in her analytical mind that she was no longer hearing the instruction in the moment but instead was still chewing on the previous one or anticipating the next one like the over-zealous student that she is! My solution to bring her back to the present moment and back into her body and out of her big active brain was to tap her on her furrowed brow and say "you're thinking too much, just breath and feel and smile". It works, try it with her when she makes that face ;)

    There have been times that I have indulged her penchant for deep thought and used her occasional private lessons to give in-depth anatomy tutorials peppered with philosophical explorations about movement and postural patterns and how they relate to our approach to life. I think these were real turning points in her journey towards mastering the art of Pilates. And master it she has! And in the process she has made me a better teacher and certainly a more patient one!

    Thank you for your perseverance, trust and ultimately your friendship!


    P.S..... You'd never know it from her postings but we actually have fun and even laugh in the studio ;0 !!