Archive for March 16th, 2012

Oh Poolates! Thy poses sooth my soul and strengthen my muscles and help me walk a more balanced path.

I’ve been blessed to find a Poolates Class and instructor that fits just perfectly into my fitness activities and doesn’t carry a “make me do it” kind of feeling or lack of motivation after two years of faithful practice. That might be a record for me. I have become a kind that no longer hangs on, but let’s go and moves on from things that no longer serve a purpose in my life.

Perhaps that is it. Poolates continues to serve a purpose for me.  I like it, number one. I love water, so to do something beneficial in the water is an easy call for me. I want my body to maintain as much flexibility and balance as I can muster and look ahead in one short year to my seventh decade. The instructor is ambitious, exact, energetic, purposeful and totally on her purpose and passion as she draws out the best we can do in the water arena.

Those are all good reasons, but truthfully, I think it is what my body tells me after the class that also keeps me there. My body is stretched, it feels strong, it feels tight, my core can become hard enough to bounce something off of.

I can breathe, long and deep. I can laugh at something silly that happened in class. I can make a muscle in my bicep. And my underarm is not so fluttery as happens to women-of-a-certain age.

Physical fitness can neither be achieved by wishful thinking nor by outright purchase. However, the German Pilates founder, Joseph Pilates,said fitness can be gained by the daily performance of the exercises he designed which counteract the inherent conditions of modern civilization. Pilates was designed for land-lubbers around the time of World War I.

Much later in history, after Pilates gained much success in human fitness, it  has been adopted for those of us who are in the half-fish human classification  as Poolates for the water.

There are many strains and stresses imposed on us in our modern day fast living life-styles and while we are in this fast track we tend to not give our bodies the care that our well-being deserves.

When done correctly and consistently, Poolates helps develop the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures (almost always the #1 issue), restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind, and elevates the spirit. Your spirit! That’s why we can laugh a lot in Poolates.

Poolates is unmistakably reflected in the way you walk, play and work. It even reaches thousands of dormant (what?) braincells which further stimulates the functioning of the mind.

There is also a sense of strength in the freedom of knowing I continue to choose this as a regular part of my life. Commitment, that’s the word.

Sometimes in the length of my exercise history, that includes (yes) Jack LaLanne, TV aerobics, walking, swimming laps,stationery and moving bicycle, treadmill and crossform machines, the basic motivator has not been so much fitness, but rather a few or more than a few pounds dropped. So depending on how successful the pound issue is, the exercise either continues or meets an early demise.

With Poolates, however, it seems to be a keeper for this older age woman. Yes, I can dream (and I do) and continue to work for weight management and loss, but staying with Poolates doesn’t depend upon success in the other.

We have formed a little community of those of us committed to our two or three times weekly in the pool. A somewhat silent community, for we are either focused on a movement to perform, or concentrating on the instructions given for perfection in doing it. We know we have to “Listen to Liz.”


Liz Versino is our instructor. I don’t know much about her except that she gives us great enjoyment and expert teaching in the ins and outs of Poolates. Totally dedicated to the practice, one only has to look upon her body to see what perfection means, both in muscle and shape. The power of attraction has hit Liz’s classes and our small, initial group is now wavering above the “too much to handle for student and instructor” alike — We’re going to have to split off like an amoeba!

But see, there’s our growth — some of us have become more “advanced” more complicated than the amoeba beginners, and like biology are taking on new forms, new challenges, and new strengths. I like that.

And my body does too.

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