The Pilates Zone

I’ve discovered the Pilates Zone.

I don’t know if I can swing that once school lets out, but for now, I do pilates twice a week and cardio any other time. I’ve graduated from “my pilates instructor is trying to kill me” to finding myself in pilates moves at home, like when Kiddo4 tries to crawl under my legs while I’ve got the laptop, and I raise my legs so I’m perfectly balanced.

I’ve also gotten used to the props, most often “The Ring” which you use to keep your legs or arms properly spaced and which invariably makes the exercises more difficult.

While doing the class, I go into what I call the Pilates Zone. I’m listening to the instructor and obeying her, but I’m not there. Not really. The closest I can think of is “Labor Land,” where you’re working hard and you just…go away. Like when my Patient Husband said to me, “By the time the midwife arrived at the house, you weren’t really there anymore.”

A semi-hypnotic Zone is a good place to hear your subconscious telling you stories, but generally it’s when I’ve Zoned while washing dishes or scrubbing a toilet. Physical exertion requires too much concentration for stories, even when I’ve Zoned. But last week, this sort of unfolded in my head, like a story, except not.

If you’ve read Hannah Hurnard’s Hind’s Feet In High Places, you probably remember it was an allegory about a woman named Much Afraid who is sent by God on a journey. She doesn’t think she can do it, so God offers her two companions. She accepts, only to discover to her horror that the companions are Sorrow and Suffering.

By the end of the story, she’s leaning on Sorrow and Suffering to guide her to the mountains, and she’s thankful to have them and all they offer. That sounds trite in summary. Trust me that the book is written better than this blog post.

At any rate, while I was in The Pilates Zone, I made the connection between getting out of shape and getting into shape, versus getting out of spiritual shape and having one’s soul purified to stand before God. Pilates –> Purgatory.

Like a story, it semi-unfolded in my head about how in Purgatory you’re doing things to get “stronger”/”purer” and at first you shrink back from “The Ring” and anything else that makes it harder, but by the end, you’re relying on it and you’re grateful for it.

And that finally, an important part of leaving Purgatory is giving back “The Ring” even though you’ve become attached to it.

Then pilates class ended, and I was sitting on my mat, holding The Ring and getting back my bearings, but still wondering about the nature of Purgatory and the nature of letting go.


  1. Cricket

    I found The Ring helped — it forced things into a better position, so the little muscles held things in position and the big muscles could work better. I miss having an instructor keep me going and check my form. I have the toys, but rarely use them unless my hip goes out. I don’t miss getting half-way to class and wondering if I turned off the stove. It happened most weeks on way to class, but never happens on other errands. Maybe I’ll start again next Fall.

  2. Monica

    I have a Beginners’ Pilates dvd that I’ve never opened. I’ve been gearing myself up for it for a few years.

    Glad you’re blogging more lately!

  3. philangelus

    Well, after today’s class, I’ve decided to call it FAILates. :-b