A Break From a Break: Pilates 101

Being the never sit still type, I decided to sign up for Pilates here in Dublin. I wasn’t sure what to expect being in a foreign country and all, but my first class did not disappoint. Last night’s class had me going back to my high school days at Villa…our track coach looked like an older version of Apollo Creed from Rocky. He was a bad ass who didn’t take shit from anyone; he pushed everyone to their limits and then some. His sarcastic comments were kind of mean, but funny none the less! His female version may very well be teaching my Pilates class and I am A OK with that.

Picture a tiny room in an old school looking “college” campus….no seriously, I had to put my mat near the door because their were so many students eagerly sitting on their mats at the beginning of the first night. Immediately, the instructor scanned the room for familiar faces; she then attempted to get those former students into the intermediate class to free up some space. She took one look at my skinny butt and said, “You, what about you? Have you taken Pilates before?”, ever so hopeful I would say yes and she could boot me to the next level. “Uhhh, not really.” I replied. She begin her spiel on Pilates after knocking 2-3 students up a a level.

I’ve got to say as an ARNP I was quite surprised by some of the health admissions the students gave, “Ummm I fell and was laid up all summer with my back.” Says a middle aged women. Yet another, ” I had a hairline fracture in my pelvis this spring, but I’m grand now.”  And still another, “I hurt my shoulder in Pilates, but it’s fine, see.” as she can only raise her left arm to 70 degrees instead of a full 90. “I’ll just only do as much as I can do.” she explains. The teacher was like “Alright, so long as you know what you can and can’t do.” Wow, just wow. These ladies have doctor’s note written all over them, but not tonight. They are grand!

I prefer an instructor who tells you when you are wrong and shows you how to properly complete an exercise. I also want to be pushed, so I get better in whatever it is that I am trying to do. Let me tell you….this lady did exactly that while managing to be sarcastically funny.

” Hey you! Are you taking a break?” she laughingly yells while looking toward the middle of the room. Absolute silence….at this point I am on my back, so I can’t see who she is calling out, but at least I know it is not me. Remember, I am nearly out the door on my mat. She responds to herself amidst the silence, “From what, a break?” I am silently convulsing in laughter, hoping not to be spotted by her.

All goes well for a few more exercises and then it’s a classic case of can’t tell left from right; I am hugely guilty of this, especially when speaking Spanish. However, this time it’s not me. “Right hand on your right ankle.” she says staring into the room. She repeats this phrase a handful of times before whomever is guilty of this, finally switches hands. “Ahhh good.” she exhales. Later another confused party is told, ” Is your English good? If I notice you aren’t following instructions, I’ll just start speaking Spanish and then you will know it is you I’m talking to. Derecha, ok?”

“Umm, no, it’s good. I just….” the student trails off and goes back to her movement. Meanwhile, the exercises continue.

It is during the rock and roll move that the majority of us our sucking and using improper form. “You look like ahhh,” the instructor is now putting her hands into clapping formation and twisting them, “what is that thing called?” A former student fills in her words, “rubix cube.”

“Ahhh yes, the rubix cube. You look like a rubix cube….does a rubix cube roll? No! You need to be a ball!

The rest of the class was spent illustrating how to tuck your pelvis in and push it out while likening the pose to sexy time. Never have I seen so many middle aged, Irish women blush!

I think it’s safe to say that I’ll be looking forward to Tuesday nights!




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