I looked back at myself.

Then I looked at them again.

I became concerned. Meathead or not, I was pretty sure I was in slightly over my head.

He introduced me to something called The Reformer, which may sound like a torture device, but it’s not. It’s a rectangular pad fixed on tracks which allow it to slide forward and backward. Nylon loops were attached from either end of the frame, so if you held them as you put your arms through a range of motion, you’d slide back and forth.


As I laid flat on the pad, I listened to Feigin explain how my body should be positioned. He was very specific - tailbone in contact with the floor, pelvis tipped up, flexed lats, shoulders down, tight abs. I forced my sore muscles to cooperate, and I fixed myself into proper position. This mental checklist was endless. My body hurt immediately.

I felt my tee shirt stick to the small of my back and noticed droplets of sweat beginning to appear on my upper lip. I envisioned the Tae Kwon Do class I quit on when I was eight years old. I was going to fail at Pilates, too, I thought.

But then, Feigin got a little spiritual with me. He explained that the goal was out of reach of the student, and one could never (or, almost never) get to the point where they held their body in perfect position throughout the course of one session. By striving to keep correct alignment, you’re constantly readjusting your body and tensing your muscles. So if I was hurting from just the start position, how would I handle the actual workout?

Ballerina yoga this was not. I took a deep breath, prepared myself for the hour ahead, and we got started.