Where? Ten Pilates, Notting Hill branch, just off Ladbroke Grove.
What? Dynamic Pilates
Having never done Mat Pilates or ‘normal’ Pilates as I referred to it so knowledgably when speaking to the instructor, I had no expectations. The Notting Hill branch is located on Barlby Road and is a spacious set up for the heart of London. Branded on the outside with TenPilates peacock on the frosted glass and with a tranquil but impeccably crisp interior I was liking what Micky Flanaghan would refer to as the ‘ambience’. A very friendly set of staff greeted me in reception and invited me to peruse some magazines while I waited. There is something very appealing about immaculate copies of Harpers and Vanity Fair- so fresh one could steal the untouched perfume samples if you chose. I didn’t- mainly because frankly what is the point when you are about to work out! I wasn’t the only newbie I discovered to my relief, the jolly Irish instructor Peter was in fact in his first week of teaching so was quite new himself.
I know that the Pilates Reformer’s name is probably reference to reforming muscles or good posture but there is certainly something a bit medieval in connotation to my ears. To me the name brings to mind some sort of threat: ‘don’t be caught stealing Jemima or they’ll put you on the reformer!’ The object itself isn’t half as scary, until you realise that having long hair in a ponytail hanging down next to springs and runners probably isn’t a great idea.
As workouts go I would give it full marks for intricate muscle engagement, thankfully I was lying down for most of it so did not have to view my perplexing facial expressions passing across my face as my brain tried to tell my muscles what to do in a very alien context. I know my facial expressions were lively as the instructor seemed greatly concerned at the end of the session and personally wanted to make sure I knew ‘I would get there, don’t worry’ and gave me quite the little pep talk.
I didn’t work up a sweat, a slight forehead mist but not a proper sweat. But what the class lacked in cardio cranking it made up for in the high octane bomb diffusing instructions intermittently given out by Peter. ‘Remove the yellow spring, and attach the red and blue springs’