Stand on one leg, arms out, lean forwards, stretch both arms backwards, lean downwards, slowly, then hold it for 30 seconds. Do Not Fall Over. That is the Aeroplane Pose. I have yet to be able to do this without falling over or looking like I am having some kind of fit. This is Body Balance.
A mixture of Thai Chi to start and finish the hour group session, with power yoga and pilates in-between, developed by some bloke called Lee Mills. Or, at least he named it and earned a lot of money from it. It strengthens the core muscles of the body, increases balance, improves posture and gives me a very flat tummy. Apparantly. It is brilliant for strengthening the weak muscles around my lumbar area. Some of the pilates exercises are used by physiotherapists to help improve posture for back injuries and chronic back pain. It is more difficult than it looks, but after the initial two sessions where I nervously look around at all the lovely hippy women with toe jewelry and long flowing unkempt natural hair gently pulled into a ponytail, bangles and an air of serenity as they stretch their long tone arms to the sun, while I wobble and grimace, trying hard not to fall over, I always get into it and it is surprising how quickly you go from being an amateur to one of the pro-s quietly giggling at a new person falling over.
It is performed to music and after a while of going tI find a sense of calmness in the group, and it is quite magical watching 20 mostly women in the big mirrored wall all moving in rhythm to the gentle music, graceful and elegant, until I catch an uncoordinated, undignified woman lurching from one side of the mat to the other. Oh, that’s me.
And actually the music is not all calm and serene waterfalls by any stretch of the imagination. I love the instructor’s choices – ‘sucks to be you’ as we work on our thigh muscles with the Ange, the supple but not stick-thin instructor, singing the chorus loudly to us as we all try not to look like it is not hard at all. And somewhere else we do some pilates to Placebo’s version of Running Up that Hill. Fabulous song, I enjoy that bit.
I am going tonight with some intrepidation though. Between January and June, I worked so hard to strengthen my core muscles, I joined a gym, went 3-4 times a week, swimming, body balance, pilates, some gym workout (cross-trainer while listening to Plan B mostly). I became trim, fit and although I still struggled with pain, I was managing it ok with relatively low level painkillers. The family struggled for a few weeks with chicken pox descending on the house, followed by Summer Girl breaking her wrist spectacularly falling from monkey bars, and I missed the gym for 3 weeks. Before I returned, my back ‘went’ while I swept up rice crispies from the floor.
don’t know if the gym absence for 3 weeks weakened by back muscles, or if it was going to ‘go’ anyway. A little part of me thinks I wasted my time, as I could prevent it from happening, despite working hard to improve my fitness and avoid things that are risky. So, I do another 4-5 months, and then I am floored again, then what? another 4 months out of action? I have not exercised properly since June. I am going to have to start all over again. 4 months is a long time to commit to 4 times a week if it does not help.
I was going to link some Body Balance youtube videos so you can check out what is involved, in case you fancy a go. But I can’t get the ‘link’ button to work. I will come back and add some, but in the meantime, check out my links at the side of my blog for some great videos.