Monday, January 31, 2005

workin' it

A friend and I joined a gym a couple of weeks ago to help us get into better shape. (That's right--not only do I have mundane hobbies, I also make cliched New Year resolutions!) I would be content to spend my half-hour there each day riding on a stationary bicycle or working on the elliptical machine, but my friend coaxed me into going to an open Pilates class on Saturday.

I'd never tried Pilates or yoga before--it's so trendy, isn't it?--but my friend was persistent, so we went. We got there a few minutes early and hung around watching the other attendees arrive, hoping we weren't the only beginners there. A few other early birds seemed to cast a few surreptitious sizing-up glances in our direction too, so we figured others were trying to keep their New Year's resolutions as well.

The class was surprisingly challenging. I knew it would be an effort--I'm not as flexible as I used to be--but it was nicely difficult to maintain some of the positions and moves. One of the more memorable, if not one of the more difficult, positions was called the "Swan Dive;" to do it, lie down on your stomach with your arms extended above your head. Raise your arms, head, and shoulders up, then rock forward while lifting your legs together a few inches. Rock back and forth slowly. Feel it in your abs!

Later that afternoon my husband asked if they offer Tai Chi at the gym I joined. "I'd be interested in that," he said; "you know, all those slow moves can be used as defensive or offensive moves if you speed them up."

"Pilates is the same way," I said.

He looked surprised. "Really?" he asked.

"Oh yeah," I said. "I mean, if anybody were ever to attack me and then happen to fall over, I could Swan Dive on them until they were crying for mercy!"