"Ease back into exercise slowly" she cautioned.
I arrived early this time, with just enough leeway to catch the end of an earlier semi-private class and observe the fluffy white clouds against a beaming, blue evening sky.
I also quickly declared my view to be the best: I could gaze up and outwards at the sunny blue skies, yet have my eyes shielded from direct UV penetration with diffusing blinds and still remain indoors with A/C. It was an extremely serene environment to proceed with one's practice. "B R E A T H E" had been positioned on the window sill not far from me, serving as a good reminder for deep inhales and exhales while performing pilates.
- 8 Reformers in the group studio space
- 6 Chairs (thus insufficient to use for Beginner Series)
- 6 Cardio Tramps (again insufficient for the full class)
- 6 Bosu Balls under the Cadillac in the back room
- One more additional room behind the private space
When turning my head towards the Tower, my gaze fell upon blank canvases situated along the way behind each Reformer. Technically, I had already made the observation last week, but seeing them again made me ponder whether artwork was pending. Admittedly, it'd be nice to have pieces to distract from the pain and help keep the head in neutral spine alignment.
Glutes were omitted from the evening's routine, with the focus shifting instead to upper body and a bit of core. With the head rested on the Carriage, a series of pilates Hundreds were executed; breathing in for a count of five took on a new meaning: five quick breaths in, followed by five quick breaths out. The concept was unfamiliar to me, as long, sustained breaths were often used for deep core activation. In pilates stance, we also completed several leg extensions (to forty-five degrees) and, after resting the head down, thigh circles in both direction. Turning to face the Tower, we revisited bicep curls with rollback ("C Curve"). For core work, the instructor usually specifies a neutral or imprint spine. For the arm and upper back exercises though, it is not always mentioned.
I thoroughly enjoyed the back exercises involving lying face down on the Long Box - Well + Good has really prepared me for correct activation by emphasizing how the pelvis is pressed into Long Box while the shoulders remain relaxed.
I had hooked on one blue and one white spring for the exercise, though could possibly complete a few reps using one red spring once the right shoulder is fully recovered.
One of the exercises involved sitting on the Short Box with the body facing a lowered footbar and rolling back into a C-curve. The arms, placed in genie position, would be attached together and raised above the head briefly, then brought back down. A variation of this involved straightening the back and firmly embedding one's sitbones into the Reformer Box. Then, while holding the Dowel, we would hinge back while keeping the chest open and shoulders down. It mimicked the Earthquake and deep core exercises I've grown to love and hate.
My favourite exercise of the day was threading both hands through the hand straps and rotating in one plane of motion to engage obliques. Given that most oblique routines on the mat are bicycle variations, this one was interesting as it incorporated tension. Chloe is right in that one needs to keep moving to preserve range of motion.
Disinfecting wipes were handed out to clean our respective Reformers, just as last week.
Though I am aware that comparing myself to the rest of class is valueless, a bit of giddiness was undeniable knowing that I could handle more when others already "felt the burn". That said, most of the class appeared to be not only new to Reformer, but pilates as a whole.
Enjoyable was this second class was enjoyable, despite it being not particularly challenging. With my departure, the instructor commented, "You have very good form!" I thanked her in response, then thought to myself in silence:
"I'm glad! I should hope so after so many years of pilates, with and without an instructor nearby."
"This is so good!" was heard being expressed in utter awe.
"Yes." I responded, matter-of-factly. "Did you think it wouldn't be?"
"No, I just didn't think it could be this good at this price!"
In retrospect, the declaration was fair. Just four dollars for six soup dumplings was an incredible deal! - especially in today's economy.
While the cashier was friendly, menu fully stocked, and interior bright and welcoming, my pick was crafted excessively sweet, to the point of being gag-worthy. The Mango Green Tea with Coconut Jelly, on the other hand, was informed to be just right, despite also being requested at 30% sweetness.
My fondness for ASTRO has been gleefully declared on this space time and time again, with Moonbin being the unrivalled bias. On the day that hell broke loose within my body was the same day the news of his death permeated worldwide fandoms. At first, I had thought it to be some cruel joke - and not a humours one at that - but it was long past April Fool's now. Information was limited, yet death was confirmed. Rumour had it that it was suicide, though there wasn't a single sign pointing towards the "extreme choice" that had been expressed explicitly and implicitly across various media portals.
But why? I asked, to no user in particular. He smiles brightly and is doing exceptionally in his career, and has already reached a very established position in the industry from a young age. There is, truthfully, no motivator for pursuing an "extreme choice".
The cause of death is important. Mourning doesn't mean ignorance, and hardly does it mean neglecting all possible causes until the wave of grief has passed. Grieving and analysis can absolutely happen in parallel. Only by determining the cause can we, as a society, work to prevent similar outcomes from unfolding with our loved ones.
To be frank, the eternal disappearance of one of my favourite artists didn't hit home until memorial letters were posted and translated. Behind each handwritten message was sorrow and longing, and occasionally guilt. The impact of Moonbin was undeniable, after all.
I think you left too early, Moonbin. I think you were taken too soon, and never intended to go in the first place. I hope that the "Moon World" that your idol besties mentioned is a destination where you can enjoy yourself to the fullest, where you can perform without restraint, and where the warmth of your smile never recedes.
Rest in peace.