At some point, every little girl wants to be the woman who swings fearlessly on the trapeze, right? I know I did. Having practiced gymnastics and watched the wonders of the parallel bars, I saw the trapeze, or even the high swings at the amusement park to be my chance to get as close to flying as I could (this was before hang gliding really took off, yes, I am OLD). It was only when trapeze schools began to open (most notably the one in New York that was featured in Sex in the City), that the potential to soar as if I was in Ringling Brothers became real. What also became real? The fact that the trapeze is DARN HIGH! My zest for adventure and mid-air flips was replaced by locked knees, sweaty palms and a refusal to spend money to break a limb (I could easily do that ice-skating on a public pond).
With age reminding me of my mortality everyday, I have taken up the gentler pursuits of “brisk walking”, yoga and pilates – all of which did not seem like real exercise to me when I was younger (and presumably dumber!). This is not to say I am a complete wimp, just to say I like routine and predictability when it comes to my bone structure. Many of these formerly “gentle” AKA ‘geriatric pastimes’ have recently been gaining a larger fan base, and with them, new twists, so to speak. Last week I decided to try a new form of Pilates, SUSPEND. As the pictures looked interesting, and I had never really heard of a “hard” pilates session, I was in.
What happened next was somewhat of a dream-come-true (minus circus lights). SUSPEND pilates uses the reformer as its base, just like classic pilates. The difference is that you are never lying down. For most of the movements, your hips or limbs are suspended above the reformer by a thick red cord. Many of the exercises require a focus on balance and the ability to control yourself as you swing over the reformer.This may be hard to envision – it was for me. Equally challenging was the workout, Steve Yip of Options Studio became certified in teaching SUSPEND in 2007 and interest in this form of pilates has grown since Options started classes last year. In some of the exercises, the only part of me that was not floating in the air were my hands. I “swam” above the reformer and “ran” through the air. Every now and again I would look up at the screws from which the cord (and thereby me) was held. After watching Steve, and trying 2 or 3 moves, I realized that I was not going to bring down the 16th floor of 11 Stanley Street with me! An hour flew by and I was a glistening, trapeze-like Goddess, having challenging my muscles and my mind in a totally new and fun way. For anyone who is a true devotee of pilates, but wants to “kick it up a notch” or just vary their routine, a ride on the red cord might just be what the Ring Master ordered.
Steve Yip has been working in the fitness industry in Hong Kong since 2000 as a personal trainer. In 2007 he took his first STOTT PILATES certification course and became one of the first STOTT PILATES Certified Instructors in Hong Kong. Since then he has completed full training in the STOTT PILATES Method of Pilates. With his careful and thorough approach to STOTT PILATES he gives his clients a safe, fun and most importantly, effective workout.