The class started off as normally as I had assumed it would. The instructor Jenna Muller was very upbeat and prefaced the class by ensuring that each and every move could be modified, something I brushed off at first as I consider myself relatively flexible. Again, this was just an amplified yoga class, right? There were the initial stretches that opened up lengthened my body and stretched out even the most underneath crevices of my kneecaps (you guys know what I’m talking about). There were the core yoga moves that everyone knew even if they aren’t into yoga, like child’s pose, pigeon, and downward dog. There were even some of the more upbeat moves that I’ve seen all the young moms do at barre class through the glass windows as I drive through my town. After five-ish minutes of this seemingly easy warm-up, we got into what Pilates actually was. Instantly, I knew I was going to get my, pardon my language, gluteus maximus beat by this class, and probably about every other muscle in my body too.
Pilates, by definition, is referred to as a system of exercises using special apparatus designed to improve physical strength, flexibility and posture, and enhance mental awareness. I can honestly say my 50 minutes of Pilates satisfied every part of this definition. Halfway in, I felt myself using muscles I hadn’t worked in, probably, ever. I became more aware of how my inhales and exhales affected my ability to stretch, elongate, point and flex. I could feel my breathing sending air from my mouth into my diaphragm, and used this momentum to drive my movements. Since most moves were executed on a count of sixteen, I tried to push myself to stretch a little further, a little faster, and a little harder especially at the ends of the counts when I felt myself losing strength. I don’t know if it was because of the sick playlist (thanks Jenna), my feeling genuinely comfortable with everyone in the class, or the incredible Lululemon sale that awaited me upstairs, but for some reason I was totally motivated to push myself as far as I could go. I thought to myself… have I caught the Pilates bug after just one class? Say it ain’t so.
Well, that pushing myself made for a super sore next few days. But I can honestly say I enjoyed the class more than any yoga class I’ve ever taken (which is probably, like, 5 tops). My stomach, my upper arms, and my inner thighs were extremely sensitive for two or three days, but it made me realize that these were important muscles that I need to work and stretch more often. And even more honestly, it felt pretty damn good. I almost forgot that there was even a wine section following the workout – keyword almost.
Overall, I’d say my first Pilates experience was a huge success that can be attributed to Ketanga’s guiding philosophy. Here I was in a room of 15 strangers about to do something I’d never done before, yet I couldn’t have felt more comfortable and relaxed. Everyone was there for the same reason – not only to work out, but also just to have an enjoyable Saturday afternoon. It gave me a little insight as to what Ketanga was all about and what their fitness retreats consisted of. This class was a sneak-peak into their upcoming Pilates & Pinot retreat in the North Fork of Long Island. If this is just what one hour of Pilates had in store for me, I’m eager to see what three whole days can do for my outlook on wellness… and my gluteus maximus.
Hannah Jacobs, newfound wellness enthusiast, is spending her summer trying a variety of fitness & wellness firsts. She will return every Friday to share her experiences and insights.