I love Zumba classes, so how on earth did I end up ‘doing’ Pilates I ask myself. All those impossible body-contorting exercises don’t feel in harmony with my body shape – my legs and arms just aren’t long enough! Neither can I seem to master the special breathing or find my “inner-core”. Do we all have a core? Mine appears to be missing, perhaps I should consult Mr Google! what do you think?
As a complete beginner the principles of Pilates are still very much a mystery to me as I struggle to coördinate my breathing and body.
And another thing, why are most of the other women in these classes so flexible and slim? Forget the cute little piglet image you may have of me in your mind’s eye because in reality I resemble a prize hog ready for the spit-roast. My friends are very good sales people, and while they tell me Pilates will “tighten my mid-drift” and all my other “dangly-bits” I feel they just drag me along to make up the numbers. If I go “AWOL” for even one class I usually receive at least one email and or telephone call enquiring why I did not go. There’s no escape!
Yes, I know this type of exercise is good for me and we are lucky a Portuguese teacher is willing to take the group. So, stop making excuses Piglet and grasp this opportunity with both hands. However, I still can’t believe I pay good money to torture my body in this way.
I’m reflecting on all the above while driving to the beach for this week’s lesson. Pilates on the beach sounds quite hip and I like the idea. Maybe I will even discover my inner-core. Unfortunately, I soon discover Pilates on the beach in the midday sun is far from “hip”. With a skin tone of Piglet pink I play safe, and exercise in my sunglasses AND a baseball cap which is definitely not hip. My body is well oiled with sun-protection lotion which makes me look and feel a bit of a wimp. I wonder is this really a good idea in practice.
As we all trudge along the beach in the hot mid day sun to find a suitable place for the class and lay out our mats I pause to look out to sea. The effect of the sunlight dancing on the water releases the tension within, my doubts recede and I begin to relax. Perhaps Pilates on the beach is hip. But the sun is hot. I’m hot.
Sigh… I don’t want to whine, so I smile.
Finally, a spot is chosen on the hard sand and we lay out our mats and towels in a big circle. It feels almost hypnotic as I again study the sunlight dancing on the water and listen to the rhythmic sound of the waves gently lapping on the shore. A feeling of inner peace washes over me…
However, as we are about to start the lesson my friend suddenly leaps from her mat and darts across to something she has spotted in the centre of the circle. “What’s the matter?” I ask.
“We’ve formed the circle of peace round a pile of dog’s pooh” she joked, as she covered the offending matter with some large stones. “I couldn’t face staring at that all through the lesson and if you’d have spotted it you would have had a blue fit!” She replied laughing.
She is right. I look out to sea for inspiration while trying to avoid eye-contact with the mound of stones. The lesson begins and we start to contort our bodies. I roll around in the sand my legs and arms held out at angles beyond the mat. The sand sticks to the exposed body parts covered in sun protection lotion – I feel like a pork chop coated in “Paõ Rolado” (bread crumbs) Joy!
“What AM I doing here?” I ask myself as I search desperately for inspiration.
The lesson continues until the teacher decides we will split into groups of three to “give massage”. The two Portuguese women I’m partnered with are like stick-insects. I massaged their backs and legs, but it feels like I’m massaging their bones.
“You are so nice and slim” I say as I admire their beautiful toned bodies . “I wish I was slim” and sigh wistfully as I make a mental note to cut out all the buns.
It’s now my turn for a massage and as I lay face down in the sand like a grounded whale, I mutter “There is just so much of me”.
“Si, but even big fat people has muskcales” one of the Portuguese women replied. I laugh, but feel mortified.
As the lesson draws to a close a little boy wanders over to the pile of stones in the sand. My friend opens her mouth to speak, but too late. We watch in horror as he discovers why they are there…
Do you fancy joining me for Pilates on the beach?