I had been looking forward to the semi-private Pilates session for weeks. I let Courtney know that I had pain deep in my hip. She warned me that it might get temporarily worse/magnified. I was willing because her subtext was, "the work will be worth it." Laying down on the reformer, I immediately felt the effect of the shoulder pads, lengthening my neck and positioning my shoulders away from my ears. I felt a strong stretch consistently through the hour, like a bookmark or a reminder to come back (HERE) with my attention and awareness. The beginning of class is my favorite: the frictioning of the hands; the direction to pay attention to the cadence and difference sounds of each part of the hands is calming to me, as if instruments in an orchestra could be singled out/highlighted while still maintaining its collaborative form-- all within the city soundscape, with the group, and with the thoughts and breath. I grounded my feet and worked to coordinate the breath and the movements which all felt different but vaguely familiar. I equalized my elbows as I framed my body with my arms and felt the tricep brachaii (back of the upper arm muscle) fire up and engage. It made me smile. With a simple instruction, I got an immediate result; my arm was supporting the shape. Another result was the cramping of the hamstrings; the back of my leg seized with pain when one leg was bent and the other is extended in the air and we are just going back and forth, pulsing the reformer... Man, my muscles felt fatigued. But the flowing movement and the integration of breath over time brought relief and helped me to maintain tranquility. I remember strongly trying to embody the resonant cue of rib cage breathing. During rib cage breathing, both hands criss cross over one another to embrace the ribs, gently guiding the expansion phase of the inhale and equally strong emptying sensation of the exhale. The 60 minutes went by quickly and at the end we found our way into child's pose with the chest resting on thighs, breathing space into the sacrum and sighing tension out of the lips. Three days later, I have no pain in my hip and I am rearranging my schedule for next week to revisit this work. Because it is absolutely worth it.   Written by Tai Jamar Hanna Body Banter