Yoga, Pilates… More Ballet, More!

I had lunch today with two of my besties, my girls are Ms. Pilates and Ms. Yoga. For us, these practices are only partially about exercise and a whole lot more about having a weekly practice to deal with the stress and to find a way to locate our centers and quiet our minds. Don’t ask me why, but it seems like all my (few) friends are in crazy high stress industries too… maybe we are all just looking for someone who we can think of as crazier than ourself in an attempt to feel a little less crazy!? Hmmmm.  My pals, Ms. Pilates and Ms. Yoga are not fans of ballet by any stretch of the imagination.

“When you said dance lessons, I thought you were going to take something awesome like belly dancing or pole dancing. My pole dancing classes were really fun.”  ~Ms. Pilates

“I didn’t like that movie. It didn’t make sense.”  ~Ms. Yoga, referring to Black Swan

“How the hell are you supposed to know what’s going on, there are no words!”   ~Ms. Pilates

“Wait… the Nutcracker, isn’t that the one that they do at Radio City Music Hall?”  ~Ms. Yoga

At this point my head is literally in my hands and I am considering the need for new friends. Now if you want to know the truth, I am a WAY better sport than Ms. Pilates and Ms. Yoga because at least I tried pilates and yoga with them! But this is how it went…

Yoga:  Really awesome zen studio with incense and chimes and a water feature… there is cucumber water and green apples and little woven cubbies to put your shoes and stuff. I dig. The teacher is some ageless woman who can somehow manage to walk despite obviously not having any bones anywhere in her body, the way she can twist around in pretzel like positions that would impress the Cirque de Sole people. Remember that I’m here to find center and to quiet my mind… less than 15 minutes in and here’s a peek in there –

~Happy mountain sun dog baby what??? This is not natural, actually this is kind of obscene. Am I supposed to be sort of upside down… whoa, whoa, whoa, dude put some tighty underpants on! don’t look to the right don’t look to the right. did he just fart?! ah, I looked! should my hand be going to sleep? I can’t feel my little finger… or my thumb. This incense smells like catholic church. Did I lock my car? Did I lock the front door? Did I leave the coffeemaker on? Oh, it turns itself off. I could really go for some coffee. And a bagel. Dog what? The dogs really need a bath, ah I hate the parking at the groomer. I hate the parking at this yoga studio…~

Yeah, that’s about 30 seconds worth of thought in yoga class. Here is pilates…

Holy crap! Have you seen some of the “equipment”!?! A pilates studio looks more like a medieval torture chamber than a gym! It’s a semi-private class with only three other students. It’s sort of like floor barre only on bizarre equipment and with a teacher all up on you and when she says “put your feet in the stirrups” I practically head for the door. These are not words  a normal woman wants to hear with any regularity unless you are on a horse in a stable. Period. But what really concerns me is that one of the other students is a pregnant woman. I have nothing against pregnancies and babies per se, I just don’t need babies to suddenly occur on my watch. I once had a very pregnant intern who thought that it would be helpful to let me know what to do if she went into labor at work and I promptly informed her that what I would be doing would be placing a call to 911 and then to building maintenance for any subsequent clean up that might be required. Ms. Scarlet, I don’t know nothin’ about birthing no babies! I spent pilates class with one eye on her and one eye on the door. Needless to say, by the time pilates class was over I was a stressed out ball of knots.

Ballet: The studio is nice, though lacking in the fancies of the yoga and pilates studios. It’s a heck of a drive across town in LA traffic turning my 1hr class into a 3hr time commitment, three times a week turns into nine hours and an extra tank of gas. And parking… well, its LA where really great safe free parking is an urban legend.

My brain in ballet class: 1,2,3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Keep the arm in front. Stay centered. Drive down through the ball of the foot. Square, square, square. Turn out, turn out.

In ballet class my feet almost always painfully cramp up, I’m tired on the verge of sore and completely sweated thru but when I leave ballet class, I feel energized and happy. I have definitely left a bunch of worries at the door and more often than not I don’t bother picking them back up again on my way out. Yoga and pilates may work for other people, as for me, there is nothing like a ballet class to get back to my center, focus my mind, and charge up my energy! And to my friends, Ms. Pilates and Ms. Yoga, I say…those light up hooker shoes were hideous, that movie had nothing to do with ballet, you don’t need words when you have the beauty of movement, no, that’s the Christmas Extravaganza at Radio City, and ballet rocks!

8 thoughts on “Yoga, Pilates… More Ballet, More!

  1. I love this post 🙂 I’ve had brief flirtations with both yoga and pilates – the latter made me cry with pain, the former I had the same mind wandering problem as you… ballet internal monologue is so much more simple!

    • Thank you 🙂 so true, you just cannot let your mind wander in ballet class… five seconds of “hey that girl’s leotard is really cute” results in “AHHHH! I lost count, where am I!?!?!” My ballet internal talk HAS to be ballet or else I’m a goner!

  2. You know, I tried to make do with yoga and pilates during my decade-long ballet hiatus, but it just didn’t do it for me. Just made me wish I was at the barre all that much more. Though I’ll admit that I really want to try the Pilates reformer stuff. And I love doing other forms of dance. Still… since I came back I realized that no matter what else I may do, that ballet is my bare minimum MUST! It’s the one place where I’m totally in the moment… there is no other choice!

  3. That’s awesome. I too have struggled with yoga (I love the idea) and pilates (I don’t love the idea but kept getting told it would be good for me). I’m just starting to take classes again with the view to sitting my associate exams in the next year or so. After four years off it’s so good to be back.

    • Thanks 🙂 It’s not that I don’t enjoy a good yoga class, not so much pilates… but nothing else really creates an environment that REQUIRES my full attention like ballet. It’s just not possible for my mind to go wandering about! Good luck getting back to it! I look forward to hearing about your dancing adventures!

  4. The one yoga class I loved to take was taught by my ballet teacher. She had been doing yoga since her teens, and was getting certified as a Yiengar-yoga instructor. She knew about “her dancers´” weaknesses and strengths. She looked out for us, as stern as in ballet class but more gentle. I would come out of that class all centered and relaxed and more turned-out and stretchier than ever. God, I miss her!

    That yoga-place was all simplicity. No fancy stuff. But I am curious about the pilates-torture-chamber – if the class is geared towards dancers.

    But nothing beats ballet.

    • Wow! I miss her and I never took her class 😀 Really though, that sounds like a great yoga class! Neither the yoga class nor the pilates classes were geared toward dancers. I went with my friends who are into yoga and/or pilates but not ballet at all so these were studios that have no affiliation with dance.

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