“Pretend you are holding a credit card between your buttocks.”
I scan the class – every face looks thoughtful.
I guess it as safe a place as any to keep the Visa but I do start to wonder about swiping and where to punch in the pin…
I don’t usually bring my credit card to the gym and I wonder if imagining clutching my membership card will do. It is laminated.
What about my driver’s license? It has my photo on it?
I start to think that maybe it has something to do with the magnetic strip then I realise I have lost concentration. Must try to keep up.
Pilates is a great way to exercise – I like it mostly because, for the majority of the class you get to lie down. The rest of the time you can get away with looking thoughtful and the odd waving of arms. It is more active than Yoga but not as offensively sweaty and life threatening as Step Tums and Bums.
Our usual instructor, Juliet has damaged her back and we have a fill in. She is tiny and Chinese and has an endearingly frank manner.
“Imagine you are holding a large organic carrot between your thighs” she says.
Organic? I question, forgetting to tense my knees.
“Don’t let your knees fall apart, you are not trying to hold a watermelon! She barks. “Though they are a good price at the moment!”
Against my will I imagine her clenching a watermelon, spitting out pips.
I snap back to carrot dimensions but have loosened my grip on the card. It is obviously a case of the money or the box.
Juliet is English and has a different patter. She tells us to engage the pelvic floor and rock our hips backward then forwards “as if letting water out the front then out the back”. This is an interesting visual image and the class looks slightly pained. The blokes start up a kind of pendulum momentum, the women arch uncomfortably. I recall that retromingent is the word for urinating backwards – pertaining I believe to big cats.
As we rock suggestively back and forth I remember that a friend told me a fabulous way to engage your pelvic floor. You should try it now – Put your thumb in your mouth and suck on it. See what I mean? I often think about mentioning this in the class but it is hard to find the right moment.
This week we had another instructor take the class, but she wasn’t a pilates teacher and gave us something called Yoga Flow. It involved a great deal of flapping about and poses such as the cobra, the warrior and the ubiquitous downward dog. This instructor is in her late sixties and as frightening as an army officer.
Are we engaging our core? She asks.
Silence while we work on engaging our core.
“I SAID ARE WE ENGAGING OUR CORE?”
Some mumbled yes’s.
“SAY, YES COLLEEN!”
“Yes Colleen” comes the meek answer.
“SAY, YES COLLEEN!”
“YES COLLEEN” the class dutifully shout.
It is 8.15 on a Saturday morning, I have only been out of bed for 14 minutes and I decide that I don’t wish to be treated like a child, so remain mutinously mute. Her eyes roam the room like a searchlight. I engage my core, zip up my pelvic floor, clench my buttocks and when she meets my gaze, stare her down.
She acknowledges defeat, nods briefly and we move on to the cat pose – where thoughts of retromingency rear their ugly heads.
But still, I celebrate my small victory by awarding myself some frequent flyer points
on my credit card.