Yes, my latest Pilates challenge has been overcome! After about five and a half weeks of practice, I finally accomplished the teaser. Am I receiving a medal or a prize money for this? Nope. My reward is this scrumptious sensation of victory and this realization that I am now stronger, more flexible and more able-bodied than I had ever been. I think there's a word for it.....ah yes, pride!
Let's trace back to the beginning of my teaser journey. It all started with core strengthening and hamstring stretching. Some believe a strong core is all they need, but in reality, adequate flexibility in the hamstrings and lower back is also a must-have in this exercise. The process of gaining flexibility could take time, depending on each individual. What followed was practice, practice and practice. I practiced my teaser mostly on the mat. I've heard it's easier to practice on the reformer and rely on the straps to facilitate pulling the torso forward and up. That might be true for some people, but personally, during my first few weeks, I found the weight of the straps to be hindering rather than helpful. So I focused on refining my form and honing my balance on the mat first.
Once I was confident enough to graduate to the reformer, sequencing the movement became my next challenge. I don't know about other Pilates practitioners, but for me, lying with my head hanging off the box and my arms splaying is an excruciatingly awkward position to be in. And let me just say moving from that into the teaser wasn't a walk in the park for me at all. Fortunately, though, my instructor was quite strategic. Together we worked on compartmentalizing "the teaser body": abs scooped, legs firmly pulled into the hip sockets, arms connected to the back muscles, elbows slightly bent, neck relaxed, shoulders open. Sounds easy, right? Yeah...until you actually have to maintain all those things at once while rolling up into the teaser. Well, I did fail on my first few attempts, mainly because of my tendency to initiate the movement with my neck and arms rather than my torso. But I finally got it in the end, and my instructor was so kind to capture this picture of me in my triumphant moment.
Oh and as you may recall, I made a bet with myself that if I failed this challenge, Tofurky would be my doom. But well, lucky me, I'll be stuffing my face with real turkey this Thanksgiving. Gobble, gobble!