I was perusing books about Pilates at my local library when one of the librarians shuffled over in her clogs to see if I wanted help. (Yes, people still go to the library. I like silence and books, so I am one of those people.)
I gestured to the open book in my lap, said no with an obligatory smile and noticed her nametag. Flexi.
She lingered and asked, “How long have you been doing Pilates?”
“Four or five years.”I willed Flexi away with my mind. No luck.
“You’re probably at risk for Orthiodosis, then.”
My brain scanned through a repertoire of Pilates postural alignment vocabulary: Lordosis. Kyphosis. Scoliosos. Orthiodosis? She saw my question mark and explained.
“You’re spine becomes too straight and improperly flexible. Orthiodosis onset is four years and three months into a consistent Pilates practice.”
“Do you have more information? I’d like to share it with my students.”
“You will not find that on a public shelf, my child. Come with me.”
Flexi barged into a door marked Employees Only. I followed with a giddy feeling in my heart. I was about to be given access to some top notch, in-depth information that would morph me into the Best. Pilates. Instructor. Ever.
Flexi lifted a hardcover book to my face, uncomfortably close to my face. I recoiled at the cover photo of a depressed, hunched over, blob-like woman. Taking a step back, I saw the title, Pilates Ruined My Body: The Life of Abby Sansflabby.
“This was banned from libraries and bookstores in September 1970. Read the summary, Ali.”
On the back cover, there was Abby’s “before” photo, bikini-clad to show a six-pack, perky posture and a smile. In addition to Orthiodosis, her deep transverse abdominals became so strong that neighboring cells saw the area as a threat to the body and started attacking the muscles. Abby Sansflabby wrote, “I can no longer sit up without support. I can’t even balance on one foot.”
Is this for real?
Then, she slid a yellowed newspaper clipping my way. The bold, black heading felt like a punch to my gut: Do Not Trust Joseph Pilates. A Historical Kinesiology Professor from Bepresent University compiled a seven page investigative report. The creator of Contrology preached that the exercises saved his life, but the routine repetition of the movements actually left him bedridden. Embittered but motivated, he brainwashed his loyal followers and believers, who then carried on the dangerous tradition as “Pilates”.
Oh Gosh, I’ve been promoting blasphemy.
The wife of a dedicated Pilates practitioner, Brea Thedeep, was interviewed for the report. She remembers, “When he began Pilates, he seemed more calm and patient. I encouraged him to continue. After a decade, his mind slowed to an infantile pace. I lost my husband.” Her husband, Ben Dover, is now homebound because the smallest gust of wind would collapse him in half into a forward fold.
I searched Flexi’s eyes for confirmation or reassurance or something. There was nothing but the uncovered truth inside of her pupils.
With head hanging low and shoulders drooping, I walked out of that library. I sat down in the car, cried and gripped the steering wheel like Rachel Adams in The Notebook. I’d lost my Love. I had been Mislead.
And so have YOU….
Michelle from The Daily Post made me do it! Happy April Fools’ Day to fellow Pilates Practitioners, friends and supporters. I will continue to take and teach Pilates as long as my mind and body are able. Click the links for factual, non-foolish info about Pilates!