By Tina Paul

Week Four: Back to the Basics


This week was a little bit different than those past and those moving forward. It was a short week due to the holiday, but also on this Friday, I will be participating in my fifth Ride for Missing Children. I will be riding my bicycle, along with 500 other riders, for 80+ miles. That being said, we wanted to take it a little light this week so that I’d be strong for Friday.


We doubled up our sessions for Tuesday. I worked with Valerie for an hour, and then attended mat class. Valerie, per usual, asked how I was feeling that day. I had had some lower back pain, likely from sleeping wrong, but otherwise felt great. She designed our session to be lighter and more focused on stretching. 


Our work was mostly based on the reformer, with some arm weights at the end. I think Valerie was having a lot of fun that day, and worked me to a pretty good sweat! I was quite sore the following day, but the soreness felt oh so good. While I worked pretty hard, we again focused on some of the basics (I just having such a hard time finding my ‘thut,’ but I think I’m close)! We also worked on a lot of flow. My practice is getting much more smooth and rhythmic. I still need a lot of cuing, but I’ve been making some adjustments automatically lately, so I’ve noticed that I must be doing something right. I feel the exercises as being very targeted. I moved right from my one-on-one to mat class with Erin. 


On Wednesday and Thursday, I worked with Erin one-on-one. We worked through flow again and have been including the very traditional transitions through every exercise. It is pretty mind blowing how choreographed Pilates is designed to be. I just think it is so beautiful and want to learn to complete the reformer series, to start, with all transitions correctly. From teaser-ing up to drop or add springs, to looping the leather inside the handles and doing so quietly. I am constantly reminded of the dance that Pilates is designed to be.


While my practice in the studio was cut short one mat class and the sessions were light, Pilates helped carry me to an ultimate physical exertion on Friday. This year was my fifth as a Rider for the Ride for Missing Children. It is a fundraiser for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), in which Riders are required to raise $500 for NCMEC. Once Riders have met their fundraising requirement, as I mentioned earlier, we ride 80+ miles on our bicycles throughout Central New York in efforts to raise awareness about the plight of missing and exploited children. It’s an amazing cause and team to be a part of, but that doesn’t discount the physical endurance needed. 


I may have been a little relaxed, per se, about my training this year. I knew what it required of me and that I am in decent shape, and I’ve been doing so much Pilates that I’ll be strong enough to complete the mileage with no problems. I was lucky for the majority of the day, but Erin’s words took me through the day. In my session on Thursday, I had some anxiety about the Ride, which gave me a slight headache. We talked through the beginning of the session, noting that I need to remember to use my “tree trunk” or my core, to power me through the times when my quads we’re tired. I couldn’t tell you how many times I told myself this throughout the day. As my quads were burning, I’d pull in my powerhouse, and suddenly I wouldn’t feel the fatigue! It amazed me every time. 

Tina waving to the students during The Ride for Missing Children


So I find myself repeating again how Pilates has become such an integral part of my life. It helps me calm my mind, rid myself of headaches, improve my posture, increase my physical endurance, supplement other physical training and just generally take a breath in my busy life. This coming week 5, it’s back to the grind of hard work in the studio!

Authorvalerie lopata