Monday, August 9, 2010


Photo credit.

Went to Pilates last week. Twice. Enjoyed it.

For years I have avoided Pilates. A chiropractor recommended it to me in 2000, but I was concerned about Y2K and didn't want to cause any extra problems. Glad Y2K turned out to be nothing, but who knew?

In the years intervening I was always put off by the name: Pilates. Who names an exercise after one of Scripture's supreme villains? What's next? We go to "Judas" class? or maybe "Judases" class? Why the plural? Wasn't one Pilate enough?

So many questions.

Then I find out the word is pronounced Pie-lattes, which is quite attractive. Pie and coffee with chocolate.

What's not to like?

Pie. Ummmmm.
Photo credit.

Lattes. Ummmmmm.
Photo credit.

Then I find out "wrong again," the name is pronounced "Puh-lattes." Now it sounds like something you mutter in New Jersey, under your breath, but still not the Scriptural villain, so okay.

There was another problem. I had listened in on a yoga session one day at the gym. I couldn't help it; I was on the exercise bike and they were in the same room. It was weird. The lights were turned way down, and the lady leading the class talked incessantly. Everyone else in the class was silent, and was trying to remain perfectly still in an awkward position. The talky lady was very serious, almost urgent. It was so much like my second grade class with Mrs. Stoeller, it was creepy. I had to get away.

I figured that Pilates and Yoga were cousins. So I thought not only do I have to put up with the Scriptural villain, I have to put up with Mrs. Stoeller talking incessantly while I try to hold oddly painful positions with names like "Dog Worshipping Cloud Goddess."

Turns out Pilates and me are perfect together. There was no Mrs. Stoeller, only a former New Yorker who talks almost as fast as I do and knows where Forest Hills is. There were no mystical names for poses, just exercises with names like "roll up" and "half roll up."

And the machines - oh, the machines! - great machines with all sorts of cool springs, slides and pulleys!

No machines in yoga, my man. Only the talky lady that sounds like Mrs. Stoeller. And dogs worshipping cloud goddesses. I relate better to the machines, frankly.

So me and my grumpy back are getting on down to Pilates again soon. Because my back woke up the next morning after a Pilates session feeling "not so bad." Which was a big improvement over "merciful heavens, is this going to go on the rest of my life?"

1 comment:

  1. I love Pilates, and Yoga too. Except I don't ever seem to get around to doing either on a regular basis. My yoga experience was so different -- a calm, quiet, voice easing us into and out of poses, narrating slow even breaths -- it was like relaxation hypnosis. It's like ballet stretches, or tai chi. Sigh.