Lately

It’s been very windy.

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Last weekend Betty had Pilates training all weekend – first three apprentices tested out, and then all the teachers had continuing education. This means many many workouts, lots of coffee runs and organising, pep talks, early starts, and sore muscles.

There are also some significant upsides…

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There should really be a photo of sweaty socks to balance that out, but such is life. Betty has now basically caught up with not having a weekend, so there’s lots more to look forward to – some sunny days, more bike rides, lots of walking (the Auckland Marathon is coming up fast), and an exciting double date… stay tuned!

Abi and Joseph

One of the interesting things about Pilates, from a sartorial perspective, is that it skirts in between some of the usual categories of exercise. It’s not like running, which requires warm layers and wicking and possibly racing stripes, or like ballet, which calls for regulation tights and hairnets. It isn’t ideally served by the baggy t-shirts of gym class (they end up around your armpits when you roll your hips up in Short Spine, and nobody wants to see that), the halter-tops of yoga (which are fine until your sweaty shoulders get stuck to the Reformer carriage), the low-rise leggings of jazz dance (as anyone who knows a Stomach Massage from a Balance Control will tell you), or the fisherman’s pants of contemplative bodywork (because, if it hangs into the springs, you’re going to lose it).

And that’s just doing Pilates — teaching it is another matter. You can teach in dress pants if you’re not going to demonstrate anything ever, and you can teach in skintight kneesies if you’re fourteen. The remaining 98% of Pilates teachers have to find clothes that are comfortable, easy to move and stretch in, presentable, and maybe even stylish and nice.

Enter Abi and Joseph. Abi, a teacher herself, developed her clothing line so that she could do Joe’s work without spending her life in unflattering trackies, and she now has a range of wonderful Pilates clothes that are also perfect for travelling and weekends. Betty met Abi a few years ago at a Pilates conference, and since then Betty has lived in Abi’s relaxed fit pants, which have a lovely wide waistband and easily roll up to the knees for serious working out, and her ballet wrap top, which is frankly the finest in the business.

She also makes a tee with the cues for the Hundred, in French, printed on the front. Can you imagine? The husband person gives this one to Betty whenever she doesn’t know what to wear. Betty likes it too.

 

Sleep is a good gift

Betty shares a Saturday morning Pilates class with another teacher, which means that sometimes on a Saturday she teaches four hours or so, and sometimes she has very little on. Ordinarily, when the other teacher is taking the mat class, Betty goes along anyway and participates, which is good for her; today, her plan was to practice with one of the apprentices, work out in the mat class, do some administration for an hour, and then teach her one client at 11.15. However, said client called Betty yesterday to cancel, and the apprentice had a friend to practice with, and Betty worked out for two hours with another apprentice on Monday and Tuesday, and did an advanced mat on Thursday and all the leg springs, and then on Friday she drifted into another plane of existence while watching BSG, and all in all it seemed like the better part of valour to just forgo the studio altogether.

So the upshot of it all was that Betty slept in luxuriously until half past nine. It was awesome. It has been rather a busy time for Betty sleep-wise, since she now starts work at 6.30 or 6.45 or possibly 7.00 every weekday morning, and naturally has to get there earlier to open the windows and renew her outlook, and since she also finishes work at 10.30 two or three nights a week, and (naturally) later if anything interesting goes on at work.

It’s going to be a busy week again, because the Pilates master teacher, whose name is  Cynthia, is coming out on Thursday. She will test two of the apprentices, and teach very many lessons, and then she will teach the Basic Seminar to four new apprentices, and there may be a photo shoot and a dinner. Betty will, however, have an afternoon off the following Friday. Film at eleven.

Happy 101

The adorable Katrina from Pugly Pixel awarded me the Happy 101 Award. Thanks, Katrina! In accepting this award, I’m going to list ten things that make me happy. I’m also going to pass the award on to five friends — so brace yourself, blogosphere: Smokey the Magnificent and the boy person friend are invited to tell me ten happiness-inducing things, as are Sweet Sassafras, Geek Threads, and Cider and Faun. (I know, it’s ten friends — but I’m a newbie, so rather than spamming my blogroll, I’ll make it five special ones.) Things that make me happy…

  1. Sleeping in! OK, at the moment this one makes me wistful, but the days of sleeping in will return one day, and they will make me so happy.
  2. Finding a perfect fruit. Perfect avocado, perfect pink grapefruit, juicy green grapes, crunchy apple, melty pear…
  3. Being upside-down. My favourite thing in the Pilates studio is hanging with my ankles in the fuzzy straps. Continue reading

New Year’s Resolutions

1. Stop procrastinating. [giggles like a fool]

2. Read more fiction — starting with Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. I picked it up about two years ago, loved every word, and inexplicably put it down several times. There’s no real reason that I can discern: it’s the size of a medium-sized music box and heavy to carry around, and its tone and milieu make it difficult to dip in and out of, but for pete’s sake. Two years. I’ve gone back to the beginning.

3. Do some form of exercise that’s not Pilates or walking. Before I moved here I was taking ballet classes for a short while, and it was awesome. When I got here I excitedly looked at other dance classes, trampolining, capoeira, and kettlebells. Then I started working every night. There must be a way around this.

4. Sleep, think, and pray more. Preferably all the time, though not all three at once.

5. Learn how to thrift shop like a big girl.

Practically perfect in every way

Betty’s Advanced practical Pilates exam took place on Friday and Saturday. It went smashingly, for the most part: she passed, anyway, which is the important thing, and she additionally found the examination process to be that most wily of creatures, a learning experience. The promise of a learning experience is one of those things that one hears on a daily basis from anybody connected with the process — already-certified instructors, fellow-apprentices, clients, mentors — and it is, pleasingly, quite real.

Betty first had to teach her willing victim a complete Advanced Reformer, including the High Frog and the Star, which are not to be sneezed at; in addition to demonstrating a thorough working knowledge of the correct sequence, counts, cues, apparatus settings, rhythm and dynamics, and hands-on spotting of the exercises, Cynthia (the examiner) asked periodically for comments on the goals of the exercises, and on their suitability for the victim’s body.

Then Cynthia asked Betty to teach a few Advanced mat exercises as if for the first time, showing modifications and spotting for safety; following this, she requested a selection of exercises on some of the other apparatus. This part of the test is mainly designed to indicate that Betty will not drop her clients off the Wunda chair or decapitate them with the Push-Through Bar. Once satisfied on this score, Cynthia directed Betty and her victim to the Wall, where they finished the test with some aplomb.

The following day was the mat portion of the test; the studio’s regular Saturday morning Advanced mat clients gallantly stepped up and performed a flowing mat, arm weights, castanets and standing stretches. The overall effect was a little flat, and Betty was inclined to be unnerved by the fact that while testing requires a flowing sequence, the Saturday clients require a full hour; but it worked out tolerably in the end.

The upshot of all this was that Betty passed her practical, and her certificate is in the mail. Since her first seminar was in late January, the process has been swift and intense: her right ankle, broken just after the first seminar, still hurts; but the key thing is that it is absolutely worth it. Onward and upward!