After years of doing hatha yoga and its countless different variations of the warrior pose, my legs and lower body have developed a pretty solid foundation of strength.
What I really need is to develop my upper body and core strength. Initially my idea was to switch to the vinyasa style of yoga for its planks, upward dogs, and push-up poses. But I’m still discovering the style of each different class and instructor at the new yoga studio, and haven’t really been able to find a flow class that focused strongly on those areas yet. (more warrior binding poses?? again?! Well, okayyyy…)
Then I tried a pilates mat class. And I Found it.
Prior to this, I didn’t know what the difference between yoga and pilates was except that pilates incorporates specific workout equipment, like the reformer machine. I’d tried a couple of Reformer classes at a dedicated pilates studio I bought a Groupon to last year and loved the way it isolates specific muscles. I could immediately tell how it would directly benefit anyone’s pole practice, but reformer lessons are really pricey and I already spend enough on pole as it is!
So I asked the yoga studio’s manager what the difference between pilates mat work and yoga was, and when she said pilates was mostly about working the core, I was sold.
Sold, but scared at the same time. Cos I have a love-hate relationship with core workouts… you know what I’m talking about right? That moment when you reach the tipping point of fatigue and there’s still another 8 reps to go? When your mind starts to rebel, the sweat’s just pouring, and the cursing gets hard to hold in? Yup. They don’t call it Crunch time for nothing.
But I bit the bullet and went for it.
The studio has two pilates instructors and they both have a different style. One mentioned that he teaches the Ron Fletcher style, and I’m not really sure yet what the other style is, but both of them rock.
So far I’ve only gone for three classes, but I’m loving it. It’s everything I need and more! I thought I had strong quads and glutes, but the pilates movements have been giving me a proverbial kick in the ass! And I couldn’t have asked for a better core workout. We were only about two-thirds into the core series when I started thinking, ‘I am so finished.. no way we’re doing another set right?!…” followed shortly by, “Okay, Now… no way we’re doing another set!!…” and finally, “OMG seriously!! … Okay we’re doing another set!!!!!”
All I can say is, at least I wasn’t the only one in the room who was audibly gasping for breath after the last few sets. It’s pretty intense stuff.
There’s a famous quote from Joseph Pilates that goes, “In ten sessions you’ll feel the difference, in twenty you’ll see the difference, and in thirty you’ll have a whole new body.”
Well, that certainly inspires me! I’m only 3 sessions in and counting, and I definitely feel something already. My abs were actually aching before I fell asleep! So I really wonder how I’ll feel after another 7 sessions?
Okay, okay, I’m also aware that when Mr Pilates said that, he meant it on the condition that you did it at least 3 times a week continuously until you reached the 30th session. Now I can only commit to 1 – 2 pilates sessions a week with pole sessions the rest of the time. But hey, if there’s any other workout that can keep up with the intensity of pilates, it would be pole, right?
So I’ll just keep at it as best I can until I reach that 30th session, and in the meantime I’ll definitely update again after once I reach session 10…