If you are also suffering from a post- Christmas spot of over indulgence you might imagine there is nothing to be done about fitting into those clothes which have not seen the light of day for years. Patterns of sitting, behaviour and eating may have silently layered a little more padding round the middle, like a potter gradually adding clay to the bottom of a pot.
Our predominantly sedentary lives mean there are few opportunities to balance the excess we consume; it’s not as though most of us will be going out to chop wood or walk miles to market. So what’s to do? New Year is the classic time to re-appraise what has gone before and predict what might happen in the coming months.
I know this year’s calendar is ringed with the date I flew out to begin a FlavoursPilates course and that was a real highlight. I had been following a class at my local gym but trudging through North London with the constant traffic whining in my ears and the filthy exhaust fumes permeating the air, I decided a break was needed from ‘urban chic’ and that I would keep a new year’s resolution to try different things instead of sticking with the ‘same old, same old’.
Firstly I have to confess I have never really travelled alone – yes I’ve taken the odd bucket seat trip round the UK but it was a short hop to meet friends or fulfil some work commitment. So packing my bags to spend a week in Sicily on a Pilates course was a bit scary, but I really need not have worried as the welcome was lovely.
I was initially attracted to Pilates a couple of years ago as I really needed to work on my posture. I knew my body’s alignment was out as my osteopath would sigh heavily when he saw how my back was never where he had left it!
I also knew that having a desk job meant increasing flexibility and strengthening those all-important core muscles had to be a priority if I was to avoid stiffness in later years.
It’s funny how we hardly realise how our flexibility lessens without constant attention; it’s little things like standing on one leg when putting on a pair of trousers or, heaven forbid, actually standing up to put on socks. I was becoming lazy and would never bend my knees when picking something from the floor and was slowly metamorphosing into a living fossil.
So, regardless of booking my course in January when my finances were creaking somewhat, I decided to strike while the iron was hot and just go for it and I am so glad I did!
The real joy of Pilates, for me, is the increased understanding of just what your body is up to and what you can expect it to do. That doesn’t mean you simply accept the situation, oh no. There is a tremendous difference to be made by working on troublesome areas. Strengthening the core muscles means I no longer suffer with niggling back pain. I even believe my shape has changed and a as direct consequence I have also enrolled in salsa lessons!
It was also great fun in every sense; I really enjoyed my teacher who was patient and thoughtful and had answers to just about every question; the location was such an inspiration and I made some friends who I still keep in contact with. In fact we have all been discussing whether we should try another Flavours Pilates course in another location.