Wake up. Work out. Done.

Wake up.

For the past few months I have gotten up once a week at 4:40 AM to teach a Pilates class at 6:00 AM. 4:40 AM is usually an hour reserved for people waiting at the airport, or suffering from jet lag, or camping. In these instances there is a kind of magic to waking up – you’re looking forward to an exciting journey, vacationing somewhere far away and exotic, or watching the sunrise after a long night of stargazing by the camp fire. But that first Tuesday morning of July what I felt wasn’t magic – it was astonishment. How did I ever agree to this?

I awoke, disoriented by the version of myself who had volunteered to teach this early lesson. Still rubbing the sleep from my eyes, I set out for BodyTonic to meet a group of Pilates Rock Stars, people who weren’t at all confused and had arrived full of motivation to start their day with a Pilates lesson.

Work out.

As it turns out, I was about to commence a summer of star gazing of a different kind. These stars were passionate clients who returned every week. They stood on their mats ready to devote time to the bleary-eyed, coffee-in-hand instructor before them. It took just a moment before their energy began to work on me too, and the room was filled with an atmosphere of motivation and movement.

I and the other instructors had a set program for the morning lesson following the classical order as Joe intended. This same posse of early risers walked to plank, rolled like a ball, survived the 6:15 stomach series and even made it to stand after Seal. Every week we added more exercises, and my heavy-lidded eyes widened as I watched the progress and dedication of the group. Thus, in Park Slope, Brooklyn, this wonderful group formed, people who had chosen to start their day with the magic of Pilates.


Our lessons flowed from exercise to exercise, from movement to movement, and by the end of the summer the group was excelling. Before they even started their work day, our BodyTonic stars had already side planked and parakeeted, arm springed and butterflied. They were shooting right out the door to their morning destinations. And I no longer needed coffee to wake up – it was enough to come into the room and feel the energy. As one of them said, “It’s like a stretch before a long run. I need this lesson to start my day.” A group that at 7:00 AM felt stronger, taller, fitter and exhilarated.

I am proud of them and what they have achieved. Though we may be done for now, I cannot wait until next summer, when I will awake at 4:40 AM again to feel the magic of the Rise and Shine Class.