Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Abs of Still

Me and Lorenzo, we've been working on our cores lately. Here he is after his daily mutilating of the rug--his tummy a whorling dervish all zebra'd and cowlicked and chocolate-chipped, sweetly Seussian despite the fact I had to throw the rug out soon after this photo was taken. (Upon removal of the rug, he immediately started using the cat scratcher. Like, immediately, as in "Where ya been all my life?")

Anyway, my point is… his belly. He's not one of those trickster cats who baits-and-switches, displaying the stomach in an attempt to get you to pet it, only to grab your unsuspecting hand and filet it with his front claws… No, he really just likes to hang out like this, spread out like a flounder, and I get the sense when he's doing it he's content and at ease and maybe even…recharging his powerhouse (that's what they call your core in Pilates).

Not that far-fetched, given the theory behind the Crane exercise, which I've been doing for the past week, as prescribed by my kick-ass Pilates teacher. As outlined by Dr. Stephen Chang in The Book of Internal Exercises, it's pretty easy--lie on your back and rub your stomach clockwise from the center, spiraling out "until the upper and lower limits of the stomach and abdomen are being rubbed." Oh, and then counterclockwise, but the most important component is the "visualization of heat and energy filling the lower part of the body." The effects supposedly vary, says Dr. Chang, from reduction of fat and relief from constipation to curing insomnia.

So, y'all know I eat this stuff up--give me something, anything, you can't see to believe in, and I'll believe in it. I mean, wouldn't YOU rather imagine waves of energy shooting off you fingers and lighting a fire in your abdomen to remove extra fecal matter ("Go on, shove off!") than, say, have a bunch of enemas?

Yup, I thought so! In any case, so far I've been enjoying the Crane. (I know, I know, it's like cranes don't even have stomachs, but when they bend their legs and tuck their limbs under themselves they're constantly stimulating their abdomens, hence the name). At first I felt all squirmy about it (do not do this after eating a bag of popcorn), but I'm finding it calming and centering.  It's the kind of thing that's so soothing, in fact, you could  find yourself absentmindedly doing it in public.

As for Lorenzo, well, he clearly has Tummy Pride, and major Butt Pride, too. Just last week he showed up right before the beginning of the big remote monthly meeting with my department, Skyping his entire ass (plus some extras) in front of the video camera on my Mac for all to see. Not that any Pilates teacher would recommend that, even if you're a cat.

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