It's been about a week since I embarked on the challenging road to mastering the Pilates teaser. I started off practicing with my feet pressing against a wall, my legs straight at a 45-degree angle, the rest of my body supine on a mat. Then I slowly rolled up and down, one vertebrae at a time, my breathing synchronizing with my movement. It's a good place to start, especially for those who, like me, have trouble keeping their legs up while attempting the teaser. I did three sessions of this per day--first thing in the morning, before lunch and then early evening. All the while, I continued to attend Pilates classes almost every day and tried to stretch, stretch, stretch my hamstrings and lower back whenever possible. The seated forward bend and the butterfly stretch are my favorites. In case you're interested in following my route to the teaser glory, please remember not to over-practice or force the stretch if your lower back and hip flexors are super tight. I once heard of an aspiring yogi who got overzealous with her stretches and ended up with a horrific case of herniated disk, which rendered her bedridden for weeks. What a nightmare!
As of today, I can practice the teaser on the mat without using the wall at all (as shown in the above photo). Rolling up is no longer an issue. To say that I can now do the teaser, however, would be quite inaccurate. I still have to keep my knees slightly bent in order to balance; my shoulders are still too rounded; my legs and core still tremble throughout the exercise. In other words, my overall form needs much refinement. That's all right. I still have five more weeks to go. The most frustrating thing about this Pilates challenge so far is actually not the physical but the mental aspect of it. To be more specific, my envy is killing me! Day after day, I keep witnessing some of my Pilates classmates (who don't look any more fit than I am and have been doing Pilates just about as long as I have) performing the teaser with the same amount of effort one would need to pour cornflakes into a bowl. And I just think to myself, "What the fuck?" (Excuse my language.) Well, what can I do but keep trying? Hopefully, my goal will soon be achieved, and the green-eyed monster will thus be appeased.
Pilates Teaser Part 1, Part 3, Part 4