May 2020 – Anat Levtov
When did you start Pilates and what inspired you to start?
I first visited the Rivercity studio for a yoga class with a friend in the summer of 2017. Earlier that year I had gastric bypass (weight loss) surgery and had added physical activity to my daily routine – but there is only so much walking one can do! As my health and mobility improved, I was excited to try something new and took advantage of the first free class to take a few private equipment classes. I loved the combination of the controlled pace with the strength and flexibility work and started attending mat classes about twice a week.
Over the next year, I tried the barre, reformer, Oov, and my two favorites – jumpboard and the summer paddleboard Pilates on the lake! I loved every single class, but the 25 minute drive to and from my house to the studio started to get long, especially with the endless construction on 965, and I hadn’t taken a class for over a year when #Quarantine started in March. 2.
How often are you taking virtual classes during #stayathome and what type of classes have you been doing? Amazingly for me, I’ve been taking at least 5-6 classes per week, sometimes even two per day on Sundays. I have been trying everything that fits in my schedule – mat classes with Carey, Shannon, Janee, and Jane; barre with Nancy; big ball and intermediate flow with Kathryn; Tower on the mat with Rachel; yoga with Kim; and even Zumba for my first time ever. Carey was kind enough to drop off some props at my front porch, so I’ve been able to break in my new theraband, playground ball, and foam roller in different classes. I’ve been mirroring my computer screen on my TV so I can follow along without twisting and have had the chance to do several classes on my screened porch on a nice day – you can’t beat the late afternoon breeze and chirping birds during yoga!
What benefits or improvements have you noticed in your body and life from doing Pilates and Yoga, especially during this challenging time?
I honestly can’t imagine what I would do without virtual classes right now! I am not much of a morning person usually, but I have found that starting my day with a 6:00 am class (and only having to get up a few minutes before to make it!) has been a great mood-setter for a positive day. Taking yoga on Sunday nights has also been a great preparation for the work week, which involves a lot of sitting and screen-staring.
The first time I took the big ball class, I had to stop every few minutes to take a break. I’m thrilled to say that I have noticed a marked improvement over the last few weeks in my range of motion and strength, and I can definitely get through the majority of the class without crashing on the mat. I even felt brave enough to take an intermediate class these last two weeks – I loved trying new exercises and knowing that I am working towards completing them! I, for one, am hoping that the virtual options continue alongside in-person classes once this is all behind us.
Do you have a favorite exercise?
Jumpboard is totally the best – cardio with no impact! I also think that end-of-class roll down and plank walk-out on the paddleboard is such a fun experience – balance, strength, and fear of falling in the water all together!
What would you say to someone who is thinking about doing Pilates or Yoga? This is the perfect time to try something new. You’ll be in the comfort of your home but still have the guidance of an experienced instructor and the support of such a friendly and welcoming community. Do it!