Advanced is the Most Intimidating Word in Pilates

As I mentioned in a previous post, my first class at Lead was Mommy and Me. Each week, Bee and I would roll into the studio for our workout. Most times I was exhausted from not sleeping, covered in some sort of bodily baby fluid and generally felt like a walking train wreck (as most new mothers do).

Anyway, Bee and I were often early so we would sit on the floor and play while waiting for the classroom door to open. And when it did, my mouth would drop in envy as they all came out, refreshed and rejuvenated. “What glamourous lives they must lead,” I would think to myself. I would wonder about them; who they were; what sorts of things they could do. To me, they were the cream of the Lead crop. They were the cool ones. The popular ones. They were the advanced mat class.

Oh how I wanted to be one of them! How I wanted to stroll into class with their confidence, completely sure I wouldn’t die. I imagined I would be perfectly put together in something fabulous from my Pilates wardrobe and I would stand around the water cooler, casually chatting about life and movement. Me and my other advanced mat friends would laugh about how Pilates was lucky to have us because we were the best. Then the master instructor would guide us in and begin baptizing us with her wisdom. Of course she and I would be amazing friends and everyone I knew would be riddled with envy, wishing they were living life in the advanced lane.

Once they would disburse, I would collect my baby and wander into the classroom where the focus was on discovering my lost strength. Nothing seemed glamourous about that. I would tuck away the dream of being an advanced mat girl and carry on with my life.

Soooooo maybe I built that class up in my head just a bit.

This session marks my fifth round of intermediate mat (total of 9 classes). A lot, I know, but I had this idea that I needed to excel at each movement in the repertoire before I could move onto the advanced level. It did not matter that from time to time both Chrissy and Jana encouraged us (us being myself and the other Long-term Intermediates) to pop into an advanced class and check things out. However, none of us felt ready. We all felt the same pressure from that word…advanced. None of us felt advanced enough for advanced mat. So instead, as we all started tiring of intermediate, we began to dip our toes in the full mat repertoire.

Then last week happened. A few of us were waiting to go into the full mat repertoire when the topic of the advanced mat class came up. One of the advanced gals was there and while we were all chatting, she mentioned that, in her opinion, the full mat repertoire was harder than advanced mat. She explained that the advanced level is an extension of the intermediate level, and the focus was on perfecting technique, not being perfect. Intrigued by this new information, I decided to bite the bullet and register for my first advanced mat class.

It was amazing! My only wish was that I had the confidence to try it sooner. There was so much new information. The bar was set to a new level. Expectations were different. I felt as though I held my own with the other girls and I didn’t even almost cry. It was thrilling!

Two years and seven sessions later, I am finally one of them: An advanced mat girl. I can hardly wait for the spring session to start! Better get me some new Alo gear so I have something to talk about around the water cooler on my first day!