What is Yoga good for?
What is Pilates good for?
Schedule & location
Places I have taught
Pilates & Yoga student poetry
Poem by Sally Wood, one of Sophie's students
I breathe, I stretch, I watch my teacher,
lithe arms and smooth stomach.
She raises and lowers herself
s - l - o -o - o - w - l - y,
while she squats on her toes,
exhorting us to find our strength
and our position of ease.
I gaze, openmouthed.
My only strength is in my brain, now
frightened offline by such impossible exertion.
My position of ease will be final relaxation,
at the blessed end of this class.
We’re not there yet. With her back to us,
she points one leg up, holds her arms akimbo.
”Think of your straight spine,”she encourages,
her head periscoping from behind her calf.
Do I think of my straight spine before
or after I manage to arrange
my weight on one, protesting leg?
She pops upright, eyes bright.
“Now a little sequence: downward facing
dog, plank and then chaturanga!”
I focus, keep my arms hugging my ribs,
hands spread. I exhale, lower my chest,
grit my teeth and plop, belly first,
helpless as a stranded squid.
I am all over sweat, arms trembling.
My teacher is pulling her hair back,
her breath is light and even.
“Relax your face into a gentle smile.
Remember, action follows intention.”
I try to bend my lips upward as we all
make ourselves into triangles,
bending from the pelvis,
hauling our arms, like drooping arrows,
north to south and back again.
At last, Final Relaxation!
But there is more to do: ease the shoulders,
elongate the neck, empty the mind.
Then bow, and remember what I am grateful for.
Flushed and feeling supple, I gather
my mat, wave good-bye to my fellows.
This morning in the newspaper there
is a photo of a one-hundred-year-old
woman in a beautifully tailored, rosewool suit.
She does yoga for an hour
every morning. Her smile glows.
Okay, thirty-four more years then.
I may get that chaturanga yet.