Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Mia has a shopping problem and we are all stronger for it

Mia Rapoport is an amazing pilates instructor.  Her instruction is clear, her class pace is upbeat and steady, and she leads with precision and intent - from one exercise smoothly into the next.  One minute you are raising a leg thinking 'duh, this is easy!'; blink, and your legs are hooked into straps and it looks more '50 shades of grey' than 'pilates' but wow, do your abs burn and wow, 'you're doing it!'.

Magic happens in this studio. 

Mia's class is ever changing, and she loves to mix it up with props, or as I call them, pilates toys.  A few months back she was really excited about circles - "you can put your feet in them!" she gushed.  "Look at this move!"  Then just last week she bought more circles.  "These are different circles" she explained, but I could only hear myself when I justify another pair of black boots.  "My other ones are fancy fancy, and these ones are casual fancy.  Totally different."

The point is, I don't have a shopping addiction (and my new boots are perfect with jeans) and Mia does.  Lucky for us, her pilates disciples, she buys a lot of toys for us to use.  

Here are some of Mia's recent purchases:

A Basket of Balls!  Hand-held weighted balls to add resistance to arm exercises.  Like last season's waxed jeans, I haven't seen these used a lot lately.  They are satisfying to hold though and add just the right amount of weight to make a simple move challenging!   

A Yoga Brick.  Ya, a regular old yoga brick.  Seems the same in function to the purple ones we have already, so I don't understand why Mia bought this one...maybe it is a black boot thing?

Circles.  Mia loves her circles.  She uses them to stretch our hamstrings, to keep our arms and 'armpit' muscles engaged while challenging the core muscles, and to guide us in difficult core work.  Mia recently expanded her circle inventory, adding heavier but more flexible circles that work us differently, so says she.  

Smushy Balls.  Deflated like my ego when I try to copy one of Mia's acrobatic reformer moves. Half inflated (or half deflated depending on your outlook?) balls are an amazing tool for guiding you into the perfect abdominal crunch. 
Balls are more smushed than they appear in this picture. 

Bumpy Blue pillow.  This looks like a cross between a torture device and a whoopee cushion.  But it changes your abdominal work in a major way!  And you can blame any funny noises on the pillow. 

Spinny Discs. Ok, you get to a point where it seems like someone is just making this stuff up.  Wooden circles (more circles) that you stand on and... spin? Rotate? At first Mia made me stand on them while moving my hips, feeeeeling my femurs move in their sockets.  The other day she made me do a plank with my hands on them.  And then made me spin.  It was hard, and I deserved a treat afterwards.  

Mia's most recent acquisition is weighted bean bags.  Mia has been checking the front desk every day for her weighted bean bag shipment, which she claims will revolutionize your pilates practice. And I don't doubt they will!

These pilates toys don't come cheap, and it is a testament to Mia's dedication to YOUR body that she continues to invest in her inventory.  She has only suggested once or twice that a renovation to enlarge the studio would be a good idea, and we've managed to distract her from that notion.  In the meantime - come and play with us!

Pilatify with Mia and her toys!