I did a Pilates class once. But only because my regular yoga class got cancelled. That was five years ago, and I think the fact I never returned tells you a lot about how it went. But during the past few weeks in Sydney’s lockdown, I’ve become hooked. Nay – I’ve become one of those annoying people who, when asked how lockdown’s going, waxes lyrical about their new-found passion for Pilates. Disgusting.
To be specific, I’m raving about Fluidform Pilates, which has two studios in Sydney and one in Byron Bay. Back in 2019 it launched Fluidform at Home, a series of online videos that let you stretch and bend your body whenever the desire took you; they were pandemic-ready at a time when the only isolation I’d ever experienced was self-enforced after a few too many big nights out in a row. Founder and instructor Kirsten King leads the sessions, which run from 10- to 30-plus minutes, with videos targeting everything from your butt to your abs, your arms or your whole body.
In “normal” times, exercise is something I force myself to do, much like cleaning the shower or eating something other than scrambled eggs for dinner again. That is to say, it’s something I know I need to make time for, but I don’t necessarily embrace the treadmill. But now? My Pilates sessions give these long lockdown days meaning beyond wake, work, dinner, sleep, repeat. I actively look forward to them. When I finish my workday I eagerly unroll my mat, get out my bands and ball and press play. There are more than 200 classes, so I never get bored. In fact, the classes are a distraction from the day’s drudgery. If I’m getting too caught up in my head, the burn of leg pulses and endless varieties of planks is the perfect way to break the cycle. And by Jove, they’re a great alternative to yet another stroll around suburbia.
King is the ideal instructor. She’s calm and clear in her instructions. Often you don’t realise quite how hard she’s working you out until about halfway through when the trembles kick in. And somehow, she just knows where you’re at.
“Make sure you pull your tummies in,” she’ll say, right as I’m starting to let it all hang out. “Keep your legs parallel,” she’ll kindly command as I start to get floppy. And because it’s all online and pre-recorded, I never feel the shame of not keeping up or nailing a move properly.
Not only are these daily Pilates sessions working their magic on my mind, but they’re also doing a number on my body. I find myself thinking about my posture a lot more. I actively engage various muscles while I’m doing household tasks. I haven’t worn real pants in a while, so I can’t be sure, but even after just a few weeks I feel that thing Pilates People always say they are: longer and leaner.
I have inadvertently become a Pilates Person. And I bloody love it.
Fluidform at Home starts at $30 per month, and includes a free equipment pack.