“Your butt is tight.”
The minute the sentence left my brother’s mouth, I knew I was about to be assimilated.
Pilates. There would be no escape for me.
My brother is doing it. So is my mom.
Both are benefiting from Pilates. Even enjoying it.
How, like that? There would be no escape for me.
I was all of 12 years old when my back began to ache. Worst yet, everybody said, “At your age you shouldn’t be aching. You sure or not?”
I was sure. I had started running long distance with the cross-country CCA in my school. And I was playing basketball almost every day at recess time. All that sporting activity was great fun and supposed to be good for me. But no. I was as stiff as a pole and felt that way. No joy 🙁
My brother tried to help. So did my mom.
“Bend. Like this.”
“Ya. Twist. C’mon, TWIST! You can do it!”
That was it. My dad became alarmed and said, “Can you please just send Adam to Jerry for Pilates ?”
Too bad for me. The Man had spoken, and it was a done deal: To Pilates BodyTree at 78 Amoy Street I went.
That first encounter with Jerry was nerve-wrecking. I had to walk and run, jump and stand on one foot … only to find out my feet do not ar-ti-cu-late. That was a huge new word for me: ARTICULATE. In simple English, it meant that, although I have the anatomical arch, I carry myself like the entire soles of my feet are flat. As a result, whenever I run or jump, impact with the ground ricochets through my body in never-ending spurts, and I suffer the consequences. My muscles tense up. My back starts to ache. The problems add on one to another.
Was the Hunchback of Notre Dame my style? Never. So, I press on. I listened to my mom, who told me about a poster that said, “Real men do Pilates .”
Fast forward six Pilates one-on-one sessions:
- I’ve never breathed so intentionally in all my life. When in Pilates mode, I can really inhale and exhale, such that I think I’m really getting to the point where my core is waking up. (I’ve come some way beyond “suck your tummy in”.)
- Yay for me, I can side-bend towards the changing room and then the other way towards the front door while sitting on the Spine Corrector. It helps that Jerry is there to keep me from tumbling over.
- I now understand what it means to rotate my upper body. Whether I actually do it or not is a different story. But I’m getting there.
- I have a special ball of my own to roll my feet on and practice articulating my soles.
- I’ve learnt stretches for my outer thighs and inner thighs, my calves, my ribs, my waist, and – get this – I can even stretch my butt.
Is the ache in my back gone? No, and it won’t as long as I am running and jumping my guts out. But, thanks to Jerry, there’s a sensible, do-able preventive routine for me. And who would’ve thought: It all started with my mom going to Pilates !
Written by Adam Choo (13 years old)