Paradoxical Pilates

One of the benefits/drawbacks of slow travel is that you get to have a little bit of normal routine, so to try and establish that normal routine today, I broke out one of the yoga mats Mike’s been complaining about dragging around and did some Pilates.

I like Pilates, but in conception it is such a weird sport. It’s yoga for ballet, which is weird because yoga seems to be all about mindfulness, health, and wholeness, whereas ballet is all about competitiveness, anorexia, and balancing your entire body weight on one toe. Ballet shoes go up there with high heels as the new foot-binding (see Penang Museum plaque below).

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Think about it: ballet dancers who have to stand en pointe are putting themselves through a lot of pain and a lot of risk just to look dainty, similar to the function of flower bud foot binding. High heels put women through a lot of pain and risk of injury so that we can look, if not dainty, at least attractive. And yes, I still wear heels occasionally. I’m just saying.

Back to the original subject, I asked Mike if there could be any two sports more unalike than yoga and ballet, besides the fact that both primarily practiced by women. Mike suggested golf and football as the masculine equivalent. Can you imagine a golf regimen for football players? A thoughtful exercise routine that can prepare you to be smashed into?