Pilates HURTS. / by Kate Brightbill

If you're reading this in the morning, sipping a hot cup of coffee and catching up on a few posts from the weekend, I envy you.   

It's Sunday evening and I'm about to go to bed after a beautiful weekend. I'm going to sleep and then I'm going to wake at a ridiculous (for me) hour of 6am to go to torture myself in a Pilates class.  

Pilates is my new thing, maybe you've heard. If you're my friend in real life, there's practically no way you haven't heard. I'm that friend that decides to make (relatively) healthy choices for a full week, and I must tell the world. The "relatively" comes into play today when I was offered Swedish pancakes, Thai food and donuts and didn't refuse anything.  The healthy is based on otherwise quality food decisions the remaining days of last week, two Pilates classes, and a 3-mile run. 

Back to Pilates. I went for the first and second time ever last week. I go in there and the people are so friendly, that lighting so soft and music so beautiful. Even the hardwood floor is perfect. I sit on my mat and begin stretching... oh, you want my legs to be at "tabletop?" No big deal, I've got this. I chase an almost-two-year old, so this is no sweat. Arms over the head? No worries, I lift babies all the time...

..then suddenly it's "one leg tabletop, the other extended flex one, point the other, hips down- (or up?), back curved, elbows in, head straight all at once, now hold it, now pulse five... four... three..." what am I doing here again? It's 6:45 and I could be in warm, fluffy white blankets with that cup of coffee in my perfect orange mug, straight chillin' and I am WHERE? Moving my muscles to insane positions and thinking harder than anyone really should have to think at 6:45am... and I can't be the girl who collapses on my mat because then what will these people I will never see again in my life think of me? I must survive, I must get through this. 

So I do this now. I'm a Pilates girl. And at 11pm on Sunday night- eve of another class- I am thinking about WHY I signed myself to a month of this torture. And I think to myself that probably no one else in the class seems to be having trouble because they've never had children. Gone went that that theory when I realized the instructor with the perfect abs has a 1-year-old. Ahh, excuses be gone. 

Thus far, I've lived to tell about it. I mean, yes it's torture but it's such a tiny percentage of my week.  The instructor says "and you.are.done!" in her perfect, morning peaceful voice, and I say "I've made it. I've really made it" in my head.

THIS is what keeps me going back: I leave my Pilates class and walk into the quiet streets enveloped in peaceful San Francisco morning fog, feeling calmer. Feeling proud of my accomplishment, and excited to tell my husband the crazy moves they tried on us this time... walk home to the chaos... having twisted and stretched and strengthened every bit of my core in a safe setting, and it actually feels good. I feel ready for anything if I conquered that crazy mountain.  

I love how we get to start each week fresh. I love that this week I'm starting with a kind of torturous discipline. Sometimes I think that as a mom, what I need is that extra 30 or 45 minutes of sleep, even if it's followed by abrupt & charming & noisy chaos.

In reality, I am far more rested when I've begun my week with discipline... even if it's the kind that hurts (I mean that quite literally... I mean, I had no idea these muscles could even BE sore).