A tingly numbness started in the heel of the left foot, through the hamstring and into the gluteus muscles. Mile by mile, I watched the pain move up and down my leg. I made note of each ache, compiling a full report for my next physical therapy appointment. I thought I wasn’t strong enough or something needed to work itself out. I kept running.
When I sat down, the pain pinched the hip and irritated the gluts and thigh with a stinging heat. During the workday, I was imprisoned by a ninety-degree angle, shifting in my desk chair and readjusting my hips without relief. I could not take a break or else I would fall behind. I kept working.
“Pain is a sign that something needs to change.”
The passage glowed, lifted itself from the page like a scene in a 3-D movie. Yes! There was a lesson here. There was a reason for this pain. If I could just find the right stretch or let go of my emotional burdens, the pain would lift and I’d be back on track again. I kept running.
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.
“Deep inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Let go of anything that happened earlier today. Let go of any thoughts and focus on your breath. Bring your attention right here, right now.”
That’s me, teaching a Pilates class at the Wisconsin Athletic Club. While I instruct participants to do this, I am doing the same. I am releasing the exhausting day at my full-time job and the rushed car ride to the gym. With a few deep breaths, I relieve my usual pre-class jitters and the guilt of leaving my puppy at home for another few hours. Then, my attention stays on cuing an exercise and the individuals in the class. Being a Pilates instructor might be my new Part Time “Work” but teaching doesn’t feel like work (hence the quotation marks).
Just over two months ago, I promised that the Fourth Time’s a Charm and that I would actually complete the WAC group fitness instructor program this time around.
I’m proud to report that I prepared for, showed up, and stayed awake for seven out of the eight classes. When I was rear-ended on my way to the third class, I cursed the Pilates gods who seemed to have a vendetta against me. Never mind the $1,000 of damage to my precious 2005 Honda Accord, the bigger tragedy was that I missed class while I waited for the police.