There is a whole realm of new-age (“nouvelle”) sports beyond running on treadmills and lifting weights these days. People are embracing the likes of TRX, anti-gravity yoga, ballet, Thai-boxing, Pilates, Zumba, pole dancing, and so on. Good news for fitness-junkies! I am not one per se, but I endorse novelty. This is why I chose to experiment with one of these new-age sports myself – pilates!
Yes, we all know Pilates corrects our bad postures and relieves the back and spine, but does it give us Hollywood-worthy abs and curves? Based on numerous testimonials by friends, it seems to do the job. So I went on a frenzy searching for a good establishment to learn the sport. There are a number of facilities in Kemang and Gunawarman area, but going there would be hellish during peak hours. Imagine my glee when I discovered Benefit Pilates!
Benefit Pilates is a relatively new Stott Pilates establishment which I discovered online. Their facility is located at the somewhat-obscure Bellezza Shopping Arcade, which is close by to my house and office, so it gives me one fewer excuse to skip my session. Their owner/principal instructor, Mel, is a Jakarta-based Singaporean who is a certified Stott Pilates instructor and has been training for years (that is equivalent to eons in my fitness calendar).
Unlike more commercial gym establishments in town (which are usually dark-lit and loud), Benefit is bright, warm and serene. What I found weird at first was that there was no bathroom inside because the facility is just spacious enough to house 3 Reformers, 2 Stability Chairs, 1 Ladder Barrel, 1 Cadillac, and a changing room. However, I find the humble, unassuming and private setting of the facility immensely relaxing and conducive for exercising Pilates.
My first session began with Mel sizing up my posture. Then, I was briefed with 5 basic principles of Pilates: breathing, pelvic placement, ribcage placement, scapula stability, cervical spine and head placement. Trust me, it takes doing the actual exercises to remember all those principles. A few stretches; side bends (to burn those muffin tops); leg lifts; and ab/core exercises (the 100 was my favorite) later, my first session was done. The endorphins must have gotten to me because I felt empowered like a superwoman. And I was sold. I signed up for a pricey 20 sessions on the spot (a pretty impulsive decision for commitment-phobe like me)! The 60-minutes long stretches and mild exercises resulted in 48 hours of freaking muscle aches in the arms, core, lower abs, inner and outer thighs, as well as on the calves. There was no looking back though.
Two months into my sessions, my jeans and pants feel less snug and my belly has become firmer. And I’m glad the novelty doesn’t get old! I’m constantly challenged with new animal-inspired poses that Mel throws at me: the Elephant, the Monkey, Cat Stretch, Spread Eagle, the Snake, etc.
Its price is on the steep side, but I recommend the sport for people (with the extra cash) who are itching to get out of their couch potato routine. Fitness junkies will also appreciate the sport, because Pilates focuses on strength and yet is easy on the joints. Come try out this “nouvelle” sport and let me know if you love it as much as I do!
Check out my Pilates 101: Basic Exercises post to watch me bend over backwords (literally) for different exercises and poses!
The Bellezza Shopping Arcade
1st floor, Unit# 137 (near West Entrance)
Jl. Letjen Soepono No. 34
Permata Hijau, Jakarta 12210
T. (021) 5366 2056
Blackberry Pin: 2268B866
Mon – Thurs: 8AM – 9 PM
Fri: 8 AM – 5 PM
Sat: 8 AM – 3 PM
Other hours are available for private sessions upon request.
This article was happily contributed by:
Inggrid loves immersing herself in new experiences, such as swimming with sharks in Hawaii; getting lost in the deserted streets of Tanjong Pinang; taking up new sports like Muay Thai, fishing, and more. Inggrid’s secret ambition is to win the reality show “Amazing Race” and to make her mark as an entrepreneur. She is unafraid to explore her limits and accept any challenges. Just don’t make her eat nasty things and watch horror movies alone, because things can get ugly…