I maneuvered to the class floor at the clock neared 11 AM, while the sleepy polar bear completed preparations for a private introductory session. Joining me was a familiar face known for both a strong physique and persona. In combination with weight training, my neighbour had adopted pilates into her workout regime. It hadn't taken long to observe her push-pull tendencies nor to establish a sense of respect for dabbling in and committing to more than one form of exercise. To my right was a participant I had seen only a handful of times, whose minimal appearances garnered additional form reminders from the instructor.
Once the trampoline contraption had been removed from the Reformer and the footbar reinstated to the highest position, core activation would be commanded. Toe dips in tabletop position were executed while switching between the imprint and neutral positions. Throughout the series, the conscious decision would be made to keep the ribs tucked and pressed into the Carriage "mat" while maintaining a slight curve in the low back via an anterior pelvic tilt. Single leg toe dips evolved into double leg toe dips; eventually, we graduated to a double leg lift. With straight legs and pointed toes, the legs would be lowered down "as far as we could hold" before returning to the starting position. In order to sustain proper form, I opted to reduce my range of motion, only to have the instructor bring my legs further down with the remark of "I think you can go lower since you are strong.". I winced and responded with chuckle, giddy at the compliment but fearful of the unspoken rep count. Oblique-targeting moves were omitted this time around.
Proceeding onto the upper body with the Reformer Box in the Long Box position, we executed a number of pullbacks and tricep extensions with the hands woven through the hand straps. The final pullback involved crossing the hand straps to form an X, operating in a nearly identical fashion to the rehab pullbacks I often engage in while in mindless spectator mode. "Your back got stronger!" I was told. Admittedly, the exercises had felt less daunting than before. My movements were, dare I say, more fluid than before, but instability and weakness can be seen in the left shoulder nonetheless.
I've learned a significant amount about my body since starting pilates, yet it remains astounding how much more I am discovering with each visit to the studio. Over the past few classes, insight has been shed on:
- Trunk rotation to the right (combat by twisting to the left slightly)
- Forward rotation of the right pelvis
- Noticeable weakness and poor activation of the left hip/glute, consequently contributing to a visually smaller left hip
- Tendency for hyperextension of wrists
The Gaeng masaman with Beef was also chosen for sharing. Similar to Isaan Der, the potatoes had been sliced to reveal scalloped ridges on the outer edge. That said, there were comparatively larager than the sweet potato chunks observed in the Yonge-Eglinton eatery. Spice levels could not be adjusted, and even the mildest level of curry (one chili pepper icon) proved too fiery for my tastebuds. My preference lay with Isaan Der's entirely mild variation, along with their impeccably tender braised beef. Jatujak's edition had included a larger quantity of meat, though the chunks were comparatively tougher, emitting an unnerving "蘇味" - the unpleasant meaty smell associated with cuts of old cattle.
Also seen were hot chocolate and coffee machines for brewed-to-order drinks and a soft serve station that was presumably functional in the warmer months.