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Pilates guinea pig in Leaside I’LL TRY ANYTHING ONCE!

Karli VezinaStarting with this issue, our intrepid writer, Karli Vezina, will try a new venture in the hopes of learning something different, and then sharing her experiences with Leaside Life’s readers. First up – Pilates!

I told myself I was doing it “for science”. I would be a Pilates guinea pig.

For some reason, I envisioned a newborn giraffe learning to walk, doubling as me attempting Pilates. Nevertheless I accepted the mission…with some trepidation.

To me, Pilates is like a new acquaintance you wish were more than that. Someone interesting you met at a party but only hung out with once, and it’s too bad because she seemed really cool and chill. I had tried a Pilates DVD but didn’t feel I was doing the moves correctly. I decided if I had the chance to try again, it would be with an instructor so I could learn to get it right. Suddenly my chance was here, but was I ready?

When there is something new that I’m unsure of, I tell myself to try it as if it were a science experiment because you don’t know until you try, right? From a research perspective I find the courage to pursue new things in the name of science. I’ve shared this theory with some friends and family and together we’ve explored many new things as we proudly (sometimes nervously) say: “All for science!” So here I go…for science!

I arrived at North Movement Studio determined to blend in with the other Pilates participants. Then I saw the props we would use. Owner and instructor Anna Harris set me up with a mat and several props, including small weighted balls, rubber resistance bands, and a long foam roller. Uh oh, things were looking a wee bit complicated. My motive switched from “blend in” to “just survive”.

The first task was lying on top of the foam tube with my spine running down the length of the roller. It sounds easy, but Anna explained that simply balancing on something unstable engages your core so without realizing it, you’re flexing your abs so as not to fall over. With classmates spread out on mats across the floor, Anna weaved between us, talking through our movements and guiding people into position. I did plenty of balancing (and a little falling over), but ultimately I kept up with my dignity largely in tact.

Between the rotation of different props and stretching from difficult move to even more difficult move, the hour flew by. Pilates is incredibly strengthening, and the moves are small and controlled, which is what makes it doable. Anna’s been honing her skills over the last 12 years as both a teacher and student of Pilates. Now that her studio has celebrated its first year of success, her dedication is paying off. This awkward baby giraffe has emerged a slightly more confident one, knowing that anyone – at any age, size, or experience level – can enjoy a Pilates class and live to tell the tale.

Fortunately, Leaside is home to a number of Pilates studios. To try a Pilates class, see which location is best for you:

  • GayleForce Core Fitness, 1399 Bayview Ave.
  • North Movement Studio, 1675 Bayview Ave.
  • Core Body Science Pilates & Training Studio Toronto, 862 Millwood Rd.
  • Pure Fitness, 939 Eglinton Ave. East
  • Nucleo Fitness – Pilates & Water Rowing studio, 862 Eglinton Ave. East