Lizzie Learns to… Master Pilates

Written by Lizzie Macaulay

It was a dark and stormy morning…

No, this isn’t the start of a primary school child’s writing assignment, but literally how the day was unfolding as I was preparing for this month’s adventure.

Lightning was cracking overhead; rain was bucketing down and the wind was utterly howling.

With good reason, there were murmurs amongst the team about whether or not we should be leaving our homes in these dangerous conditions.

Time ticked away and it seemed like I was either going to make a dash for it, or miss out entirely.

And then of course, with ten minutes to spare, the clouds parted, the sun burst out, and aside from the debris strewn around, you’d never have known it had been anything other than a typical Fraser Coast day.

The universe, it would seem, was on our side once again.

Arriving safe and sound at Maryborough’s Pilates & Yoga studio run by Teresa Attinger, I was ready to try something I hadn’t tried since back in the days of living in Glasgow’s West End.

I settled in to my spot in the studio and prepared for what was sure to be a challenging session – I had no core strength ten years ago, and after two darling kiddos, probably even less these days!

Teresa started by directing the class to a small silver ball that was going to be our tool of choice for the class.

I was resisting my standard reflex to test if it was bouncy or not – I was confident that would be a faux pas on my part, so I stifled the urge and followed Teresa’s instructions to pop it between my knees instead.

We started by simply standing and finding ourselves in our truest aligned position.

While it was relatively easy to find alignment, staying there was a different proposition entirely.

Moving to the floor, the positions became more challenging as the class went on.

As we transitioned from movement to movement, I was surprised by the contrast between the simplicity and difficulty of each of them.

I mean, lying on your back and raising your feet off the floor sounds easy enough…

…But doing so whilst making sure you’re breathing correctly and everything is properly aligned is the bodily equivalent of patting your head and rubbing your tummy!

It’s clear from how effortless the moves are for Teresa that she mastered the practice long ago.
She’s strong, nimble and makes every movement look so graceful.

I couldn’t help but want the same for myself, of course, but alas I had to settle for awkward, but enthusiastic.

(Story of my life, right?!)

Teresa explained the origins of Pilates, and how its creator, Joseph Pilates developed the movements during World War II to aid in recovery from their injuries.

She discussed how the benefits of Pilates extended far beyond muscular control and into improvement in other areas, like a stronger immune system and improved focus.

We heard how essential the practice is to other disciplines, like ballet, for the art of controlling and connecting with your body.

I could see how there would be benefits from the practice that could be applied in almost any area.
As someone who takes great pleasure in ‘lifting heavy things’, I could definitely see how an improvement in core strength (among other things) would be a great asset.

Although I wouldn’t have credited myself with any kind of real aptitude for what I was attempting, I thoroughly enjoyed the pursuit of it.

I realised that this was the kind of thing that took time to develop, and one class was a tiny, teasing morsel of what could be with regular practise.

As the class drew to a close, I was caught by surprise – hadn’t we only just started?!

That time warp feeling is always a sign that you’ve enjoyed yourself immensely, and really, what more could you ask for?