In a bid to lose her buldge, Nisha Khiani finds that STOTT PILATES, a contemporary approach to the traditional exercises, is more than just a workout for your body.
The Alis! mantra - Pilates, Pilates, Pilates - got me wandering
abaut thismagic exercise that's meant to zip up all the bulges
inside out. Only, the thought of lying on a mat, focusing on
breathing, holding and squeezing sounded like a snore. But
when I learned that Gold's Gym at Mumbai's Napean Sea
Rood, was offering classes in the world-renowned STOTT PILATES, I thought I'd take a stab.
Developed in Canada, it is based on movements that use a machine
called the reformer. Four of these magic devices - which cost between
Rs2 and 5 lakh each -lined the basement level studio that's open to both
gym members and non-members. At first sight, it resembled a medieval
torture device-meets-rowing machine fitted with five coiled springs for
resistance, complete with a sliding carriage and moveable harnesses
used on your hands or feet.
The instructor, trained by STOTT PILATES in Canada, eased me in with a
teaser workout. After an hour of working all my major muscle groups,
mostly by varying the positioning of my feet on the foot bar, the number of
springs used and sliding on the carriage, I felt like I had exercised
but didn't break a sweat. Apart from the two minutes that my toes
had cramped, there was no pain. This horizontal, full-resistance
workout meant no time was
wasted waiting to complete
sets, adjust weights, have
machines wiped down,
stretching or cooling down
It was all done in an hour
and mostly while lying on
my back. Was this workout
nirvana? No post-workout
Apart from my jelly belly, I pride myself on being fit.
Aerobics, kick boxing, power yoga, weight training are
all part of my fitness repertoire. So when the successive
sessions had me wobbling for control and wincing as
I felt the burn from resistance sometimes as low as
six pounds, I realised that my fitness levels left plenty
to desire. I took solace however when I watched a
six-foot-tall, muscle-laden man also wobble next to me.
As the course progressed, the exercises morphed
into advanced variations using a kick board to spring off,
a box to sit atop, a foam board to squeeze between my
knees and a stick to hold while twisting and balancing, all
the while with resistance from the springs. They looked so
simple when demonstrated but had me stretching in a
slow and controlled fashion while developing balance
and core strength. Definitely
not a leave-your-brains-at home
opportunity to switch
off, sometimes, there was so
much to concentrate on
simultaneously, I had to be
reminded to breathe!
The obvious advantage
on the reformer was no
jarring motions and no
body-weight pressure on
the knees and back. By the
end of the second week, a
simple task like walking up
the stairs had me feeling
muscles in my hips and butt
which surprisingly, I didn't know even existed before.
While six sessions weren't enough to get me the six-pack
abs I'd wanted, I did get a Mona Lisa smile as I enioyed
my newly taut derriere.