Once upon a fail, I had the bright idea to start doing Pilates.
I convinced two friends to join me, and bought purple mat and a pair of yoga pants in preparation for my first class.
We got to class a few minutes early and found our places on the floor. Soon after, the instructor came in, and immediately picked the newbies out in the crowd.
“No shoes in here,” the instructor said, looking right at me.
“Sorry!” I replied. Blushing, I removed my shoes and laid down, hoping I’d go unnoticed for the rest of the class.
The instructor moved to the front of the studio and explained that class would be 1 hour, and that we’d start by focusing on our breathing and relaxation.
“And now, I’d like to show you ‘The Seal,'” the instructor announced, about 50 minutes into the class. There was an audible ‘thunk’ as 20 bodies dropped their planks and looked over at the instructor. For those who don’t know, this is The Seal:
The instructor demonstrated the exercise twice and then we assumed the starting position.
I gulped nervously as I moved into the modified “V sit”.
“And… GO!” the instructor commanded. At once, the class obeyed.
I flung myself back on to my shoulders, and realized I was in trouble. I tapped my toes together and, instead of pulling myself back up to the V sit, flopped onto my left side.
I tried it again.
I started to get frustrated. I looked over at my friends, trying to figure out what they knew and I didn’t.
I tried a third time, violently flinging myself back, hoping that momentum would be in my favor. Instead, I rolled beyond the V sit and on to my face.
Momentum, clearly, not on my side, I then flopped to my left.
By now, the instructor had noticed 3 girls at the back of the class, two of them laughing and effortlessly “sealing” while the other flopped on her side like a sick walrus.
“The trick is to exhale really hard on your way up,” she coaxed, kicking my shoes aside.
Frustrated, I assumed the V sit position, inhaled on my way down, tapped my toes together, and then “THHHHBBBTTT!”
I exhaled as quickly and strongly as I could, and managed to rock myself back up to the V sit.
I was so happy celebrating, I hardly noticed the slow left arc my body was making. By the time I felt it, it was too late and I flopped.
I was about to storm my barefoot self out of the class when, looking down, I realized the cause of my woes. It was my trusty old friend, the short leg.
With a minute left in class, I re-assumed the V sit position. This time my left hand gripped my left ankle, while my right hand gripped my right calf. I inhaled deeply, flung myself on my shoulders, tapped my toes together, and then “THHHHHBBBBTTT!”
I pulled myself up on to my bum.
My hips wobbled beneath me, but I managed to hold the position. When the class was over, I flopped (purposely) to recover.
“What did you think, guys? Same time next week?” My friend asked, rolling her mat.
“Sure!” The other replied, getting up with ease.
“Umm, guys?” I asked, still horizontal, and in an enormous amount of pain.
“Can someone help me with my shoes?”
It would be 5 days before I’d twist, bend, stretch, laugh, or tie my shoe laces without whimpering.
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