PILATES CORE CHALLENGE

PilatesCoreChallenge

2007, 75 cents, at Goodwill on Colorado in Eagle Rock

First Impression: The instructor’s name is Ana Caban.

Second Impression: But you know her friends call her Banana Cabana.

This DVD was shot in Sedona, Arizona, on the same sacrifical altar, I mean, glorious mountaintop, where the Yoga for Weight Loss video was filmed.

The instructor ticks off the six basic principles of Pilates: control, centering, concentration, breathing, precision, and flow. What could be simpler?

The routine begins with a move called “Bird on a Perch.” You lie on your back with knees bent and feet raised. Your feet are constricted into a forced arch, like the talons of a bird. You straighten and bend your legs, pull in your abs, and force your toes to stay in that foot-cramping grotesque curve, never forgetting the six basic principles of Pilates: pain, suffering, sloth, gluttony, the Professor, and Mary Ann. You lie there, staring up at the sky, and – what’s that circling overhead? Buzzards?

More mat exercises follow, occupying the dismal intersection between extreme discomfort and crushing boredom. There’s a move that Banana Cabana calls The Snake but which I call Nope!

You sit with your legs on one side of you. You reach one arm to the side and the other arm kind of to the front, with your palms facing different directions. You press up, your body facing the side, then you lower and rotate so that your hips are on the floor but your chest is up high, with your arms in this weird twisted position and your legs uselessly trailing behind you. It’s guaranteed to strengthen and tone your physical therapist’s billable hours in just minutes a day!

All of this is underscored by  peppy, cocktail-party bachelor pad music. I expect a sophisticated gent in a velvet smoking jacket to mix me up a sidecar before demonstrating his smooth rhumba. He will remind you of the six basic principles of Pilates: glances, conversation, coffee, dinner, dessert at his place, and a cigarette.

At the conclusion of the routine, the camera pans away past the sheer cliff drop and over the indifferent treetops. We are reminded that despite our best efforts to better ourselves, the infinite always creeps along one step behind us.

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