Experiencing Pilates: A Journal

           As an International Student, which is a full-time student, I have the requirement to take minimum 12 credits in one term. So, in my first semester I already choose three classes which are one English class and two Early Childhood Education classes, which is the major that I take. Unfortunately, the credit from those three classes is only eleven. That’s why I need to take one more class to meet my minimum credit. Apparently, because of some consideration, including the financial one, I need to take a class which has one credit only. My searching of class with one credit only ended up into the P.E class. I decided to take one P.E class to fulfill the minimum credit needed. From all P.E class offered, I then considered two classes which are Yoga and Pilates. Then, because of the schedule reason, I chose Pilates class.
              Before taking this Pilates class, I already heard about Pilates in my home country, Indonesia, but I never know what actually Pilates is. What I had in my mind is that it is similar to yoga, and a lot of women in my country do it. There even some famous artists who open their own Pilates place and endorse people to do more Pilates. So, in the first meeting of the lesson I did not have any expectation or general view about what I will do in the class. Arrived five minutes late because trying to find the entrance door of the gymnastic building and got lost into the indoor basketball court (well, that’s not the first time I got lost in a new place since I’m not good at direction and have a low visual spatial skill), I got the syllabus and the registration code needed to enroll to the class. In the first meeting, there was no workshop since the instructor needs to explain about how the class will be and other information needed such as the dress code, props needed, and so on. My first impression about this meeting is that the class is gonna be exciting since the instructor is very energetic and friendly. She tried to memorize all of the student’s names in the first meeting, which I found it is fascinating because it is not easy to memorize more than twenty names in less than one hour. It made me got the good feeling that I will enjoy the class.
              On the next meeting, I came to the class a little bit early. After finished attending my English class which ended at 10.30, I went straight away to the dance room. When I arrived there, the previous class was still not finished so I waited outside. Wow, I just think how “strong” my instructor is because she only has less than 10 minutes break from one class to another class. Then it came the time for me to do the Pilates. My first Pilates exercise. I felt exciting yet nervous at the same time. This first exercise went slow as my instructor already mentioned before that at the beginning she will conduct the class a little bit slow to make sure that everyone understand the instruction and can do the exercise right. She is very expressive and tries to use simple and easy word to describe the movement so we can memorize it easily, for example the star fish position which is a position we do where we lay down with our legs and arms spread in order to relax after doing some ‘heavy’ exercise. Some words in English were little bit confusing to me and sometime I cannot hear clearly because of the loud music so that it makes me depend mostly on watching my instructor and imitate her rather than listen to the instruction. That’s why when she did not stand in front of the class and walked to the center of the room, I got some difficulty following the movement. Thus, if I cannot see her I will look at my friends or look at the mirror, trying to find out what to do. In the middle of the exercise, I felt dizzy, wanted to throw up and almost faint. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have enough breakfast. Or maybe it’s because I still adjusting with the time change since the time difference between my country and here is 14 hours and I had just arrive two weeks before. Anyway, I tried to do the exercise slowly and stopped a while when I felt dizzy. At the end of the class, I know that I surely need to have enough breakfast before doing the exercise.
            So, on the next meeting, I already had my breakfast and came to the class just right on time, 11 PM. The exercise started with warming up or stretching, a little bit slow with the slow music too. Then, it came for the core activity, doing the curve and the bend or six o’clock, neutral, and twelve o’clock position. At this time, I still a little bit confuse in differentiating the six o’clock and twelve o’clock position. Then, my instructor came to me and helped me to do my six o’clock and twelve o’clock position. Still, after a while I have a little confusion about which one is six o’clock position and which one is twelve o’clock position. So, I just do the three positions orderly without knowing which one is six o’clock and which one is twelve o’clock; off course neutral position is easy to be memorized. I think I know better when the term used are curve and bend (but after several meeting, I finally know which one is six o’clock and which one is twelve o’clock).
          Meeting after meeting, day after day, I tried my best to do the exercise. The class went regularly with some basic exercises we needed to do such as one hundreds, single leg circles, single leg stretch, single straight leg stretch, double leg stretch, double straight leg stretch, criss-cross, and so on. Sometime we used props such as roller foam, brick, and circle. I don’t like the brick nor the circle and prefer the roller foam. Still I found difficulty in having my balance on the roller foam and do exercise on it; but I love when it time for us to do the “massage” on our legs using the foam. It kinda hurt but it feels so good at the same time. I also enjoy doing the six o’clock – neutral – twelve o’clock exercise even though sometime I forgot to hold my stomach in. From all position we’ve been doing in the class, the one that I love most is the star fish (off course, who don’t love it…). It is so relaxing doing the star fish position after “being tortured” by the one hundreds or criss-cross exercise.
             I won’t lie that sometime I felt so unmotivated and did not want to do the exercise. I even skip some classes and kinda “sacrifice” this class because I have to study and prepare for the other class quizzes. Nevertheless, I got excited and surprised when I found myself doing the difficult exercise that I cannot do previously. It gave me more motivation to continue attending the class and doing the exercise. I feel that my body is more flexible now even though only a little bit. I can do more criss-cross or sit up then I used to be before. Generally, I feel the benefit of the Pilates exercise and I am more aware of my body posture when I walk or sit. I feel that my shoulders are more open now and I can stand straighter that I used to be before. The exercise works. I just need to keep on motivated and continue the exercise. Hopefully at the end of the class, when it comes the time for us to do the second fitness testing, the result will be good and shows some improvement on my body.

Submitted for Skyline College Pilates Class

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