Changes, as unwelcoming as some of them can be, always turn into experiences that make me learn something, see myself and my life in a different life, build up a new dimension and appreciate the fact of being…
My injury last year was one of those moments. Not only it made me appreciate my body and listen to it even more carefully than ever before, I also realised that working out isn’t as important for me as I’ve always thought. Because my body proved it to me.
Yes, it was difficult at first for it was a part of my routine and, in a way, a part of me. Working out made me feel good and I enjoyed the process. Cutting it out completely not because I wanted to, but because it was required felt unfair. At the end I had to deal with the reality and make a transition.
I spent the rest of the year walking, mostly with my dog and mainly in flat shoes. Honestly, I was both concerned and curious about the changes that would happen to my body. The way it responded to the changes surprised me – I got leaner, slimmer and calmer. It proved that eating well and staying moderately active (well, I did walk, after all) is enough to have a flat stomach and be slim and healthy.
I’ve loved ballet since I was four and was given a pair of proper pointe slippers by our neighbour’s daughter who studied the art of dance. It was always about a fantasy… Memories of Odille and 32 fouettés in Petipa’s Swan Lake, the Fokine’s mesmerising Swan wrapped in waves of Camille Saint-Saëns’s music, the waltz of the flowers in the Nutcracker, the Giselle’s solo and Maya Plisetskaya’s unforgettable Carmen. Dreams of being a ballerina…
Although I remained a spectator, I never stopped loving it. Once it crossed my mind to use it as a form of exercise, I looked through pretty much every DVD available on the market including the Barre method, NY city ballet workout, Ballet fitness and the most recent addition, Ballet beautiful, but it was the Element video that turned out to be exactly I was after.
Now I can pretend that I am a part of a ballet class and practice in a privacy of my own home, just me, tv and a sturdy chair.
It feels right. It makes me feel feminine, but also stronger and toned. And it’s probably the closest to the real ballet class and not just another version of Pilates-based routine with a few pliés thrown in for authenticity.
I am planning to combine it with an occasional Pilates and yoga as the time goes by, but I don’t think I will be going back to anything more strenuous than that until further notice.
Photo source: Call to the bar in How to spend it, December 2013 (photography: Andrew Yee; styling: Damian Foxe), Chloe Spring/Summer 2011 via vogue.com, ballet slippers via KTMerry