At my gym I regularly take a Piyoga class, which combines elements of Pilates and yoga. I already knew that Pilates is all about precise moves and specific breathing techniques. Normally I do the movements on a mat on the floor. Doing the exercises with equipment has always sounded intimidating, starting with the piece called the reformer:
During my session, I figured out the equipment wasn't so intimidating, and actually made some of the exercises easier. The free demo class was about half the length of a regular one, so the instructor led us through a condensed set of exercises to give us a taste of the real thing.
After I arrived and signed a waiver the instructor showed me where to get a mat and some hand weights, then told me to pick out a spot. The low to the ground reformer looked a little bit like a wooden bed frame with a moveable seat area (which I learned was called a carriage). The head rest and shoulder pads were at one end, along with straps (long for leg exercises and short for arm and shoulder work). At the other end was a foot bar. Near the bottom edge of the carriage were five springs with different-colored hooks. Over the course of the class we used different combinations of springs to provide different levels of resistance. Attached to the wall next to each reformer was another piece of equipment I learned was a springboard. We used the foot straps on these (laying on a mat on the floor) for leg exercises during the last section of the class.
The thirty minutes went by quickly. At the end I wasn't sweaty, but my muscles were telling me they'd had a good workout. The instructor reminded us to clean off our machines and mats and put everything away. As I walked past the front desk the associate standing there tried to sell me a membership to the gym. I passed. The classes were a little pricey, and, as much as I liked using the equipment, this location was just far enough away from my house that I would use the driving time as an excuse.
Five years ago today: Clean It Or Leave It?