In pilates, as in life, if something seems easy, then chances are that I am doing it wrong. When I first started taking classes I smugly thought gosh, I'm pretty good at this, I must be really strong and naturally gifted. But it turns out that I just wasn't doing it right.
As classes have progressed we have focused on various details, dissecting each aspect for me to work on and it has become clearer and clearer just how challenging this is. There were a few parts of the routine here and there that I could look forward to coasting through but one by one even these have been revealed to me as strenuous if only I were doing them correctly.
With enough experience now to gain appreciation and perspective I have accepted that my early pilates efforts are more a child's scribble than a Jackson Pollack. (As these posts are more amateur blogger than David Sedaris.) And certainly this speaks to my teachers' infinite patience and wisdom--to appreciate the stepwise path to enlightenment and the need to push the student without overwhelming her.
There are no short cuts in life. You reap what you sow. Cliches, but true.
I think there is a biological/ evolutionary drive to be lazy-- to conserve energy until the fight or flight moment presents itself, and I think that's why there is an appeal to cheating at these exercises. But on a higher level it feels great to be exerting oneself because we have such a deep-seated belief in no pain no gain. The grade-school lecture that we are only cheating ourselves rings true.
As Malcolm Gladwell's "10,000-hour rule" teaches us, mastery requires great dedication. The Anya teachers make pilates appear gracefully beautiful and effortless and so I am tempted to think that I, too, can effortlessly achieve this level of perfection. But I have come to appreciate the exertion, concentration and practice that are actually required, and I look forward to making progress with each session.