2001, $1.99, at Goodwill in Tujunga

First Impression: “Take the mystery out of doing Pilates!”

Second Impression: “You may even change your mind about exercise!”

Guess what? The “For Dummies” book franchise also does exercise videos. Amazing. Our fearless leader is named Michelle Dozois.  I rearrange the letters in her name to spell, “Zoo is chill, deems I.”  This is the first time I’ve paused a workout to figure out a host name’s anagram.  You’re welcome.

We’ve got two workouts. What a relief, the Basic one comes first. As luck would have it, Michelle lets us know that “Pilates has some key fundamentals that I call… The Basics.”

She tells us to “visualize your pelvis as a bowl at the base of your spine.” To me, images like this are more confusing than no explanation at all. Is the bowl sitting on a counter? Is the base of the bowl where your legs start, or in the back at your tailbone? Where does the fruit go? 

The Princess Diana of Pilates does not elaborate on the bowl metaphor, so my questions remain unanswered.This DVD is for dummies, after all.

She says to “stay focused,” but the Diva Gremlin Princess is being cute and will not be denied attention:

Like the ubiquitous book series, this DVD is full of tips notated by a bull’s eye icon, a myth-busting dweeb in a cape, and a little man in a ski hat, finger raised to indicate, “Actually…” Whenever he shows up, he’s accompanied by a “do-innggg” sound that is not silly at all, why would you ask?

Do this workout three times a week, and soon you’ll be able to clean yourself in ways you never thought possible:

Now on to the Intermediate routine.

Questions? Fold yourself in half. The answer you seek lies between your feet:

The workout presses on, with a new sequence of exercises that are completely different from the previous routine. There’s no lengthy explanations, no hand holding. There is no “do-innggg” sound, no man in a pointy hat. We are expected to figure it out. We are trusted. We are, perhaps, no longer dummies.

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