Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 16 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Pilates--a.k.a. Comic Relief!

If you need a good, hearty, belly laugh, I invite you to observe my next Pilates class. I'm new to the, 'eh, sport? Last night I took a two hour class, which was one hour longer than my total Pilates experience to date. It was mentally and physically exhausting. And it was very, very funny!
Pilates, for those of you unfamiliar, is like yoga, gymnastics, and Nintendo's Brain Age all rolled into one. Are you laughing yet? Pilates exercises focus on strengthening the core muscles. But just strengthening the abs and back would be way too simple. Pilates focuses on the deep core muscles. Those would be the ones you've never felt or consciously used in your entire life! Hence the Brain Age reference...
To strengthen the deep core muscles, I needed to learn where they were, what they did, and how it felt when they were active. Our fabulous, patient, cheerful instructor put us into all sorts of contorted positions while forbidding us to use the muscles which would normally hold us there. Confused? Let me give you an interactive example.
If you are not already, please sit down. Now lift one knee toward the ceiling. Are you doing it? Great. Do you feel that tightened muscle on the front of your hip--yes, the one which allows you to raise your leg. DON'T use it! That's right, turn that muscle off. What? You say you can't hold your leg up if that muscle isn't turned on? Terrific! Now you understand Pilates!
Once we attained our "understanding," we got down to business. Hint: this is the comedic portion of the program. Picture me rolling into a ball, butt in the air, while imagining my "tail" extending straight to the ceiling. Watch me rolling from my back to my butt, and then from my butt to my back, while hanging onto my ankles, which are at the far end of my straightened legs. Picture me on my side, as I attempt to make one butt cheek aim toward the ceiling and the other cheek toward the floor, while I swing my twisted leg forward and back. Are you laughing now? I hope so.
I sure was!

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