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  • Writer's pictureSuzanne Andrews

Listless Lotus

Updated: Oct 17

Dear Nita,

Do Wall Pilates Now!!!

Ahh, social media. I foolishly tapped 'read more' and now the world and his oyster are sending ads for wall Pilates.

So missy motivator with buns of steel, or should I say Dear Nita, I'm a flabby, flirty, fifty and would love to get in shape. Wall Pilates looks great but is it? It's trending, but is it mending? And who can I trust? Any recommendations please!??

Haha tho seriously it looks great, I like it, I have a wall. But there are so many I don't know where to start.

I'm birthing a morning walking habit which is going well, and love stretching and being flexible.

Actually, I was thinking about trying some of those cute moves in one of your books,

Sweaty Netty.

So Dear Nita, please help! 😅

Listless Lotus

Dear Listless Lotus,

Do whatever floats your butt I say! Or in Nita's case, whatever floats your boat, right Pinky?!

I've seen The Great Wall of China lengthen this year with all the lovely low impact Wall Pilates videos released, and I am thrilled that it's now 'a thing'. There's nothing like a nice flat wall, stretching upward to the heavens, to lean into and depend upon. Beats having to get down on the floor and make your parts move. Sorry to the yoga devotees out there but I'm a straight up, vertical woman who does love a good wall. A wall offers shelter; solid support; unconditional love, and security. The right choice of wall is like choosing the right partner or pet - they're trusted and true and with you all the way baby! So, Lotus, who do you trust? You trust the WALL first, then the instructor!

Getting back to Wall Pilates being 'a thing'. It's a cosy do at home thing; a celebrity thing, and an outdoors environmentally friendly thing. Flexibility is the name of the game, for body and mind. You take the Pilates with you, instead of someone else making you do it on their terms. Nice!

For the record, I hereby define Wall Pilates as Pilates in need of a wall - not a park bench, or a chair, or a table, which of course you can do Pilates with, but please focus on the WALL for now. I can see a Monty Python medieval wall as I write, with my 'hereby define Wall Pilates' proclamation nailed up high for all the villagers to see. This leads me to a wee tip: don't get too serious about the wall, the moves or your mat - just figuratively and literally lean into it Lotus. I LOVE Wall Pilates and any exercises using a wall feels strangely naughty and nice and you don't think twice about letting go. It's seriously liberating!

So here are my tips to help you decide what to do and where. I don't expect all to resonate with your uniqueness, but I do hope there's at least one takeaway to help you with your gravitation to stretching and flexibility. Well done on going for it with your morning walks too. So proud of you!

Righty -o, time to address your questions Lotus - hope you don't mind me shortening your L L name ? You said you've got your wall but you may wish to choose another to shake it up so to speak. Inside or outside, your choice of wall is your priority.

1. Hunt down that wall which INSPIRES you!

It's got to be smooth, like you, and Nacho the smelly fish in his shades on the wall below. Don't settle for any old wall. Find your perfect match.

How about sometimes using two walls in close range for a variety mid-way through your workout. It's all about the setting - you must feel INSPIRED. I used to love taking fitness classes outdoors. So many short and tall ones, walls everywhere, just waiting for my gals to lean on them as if they're sitting on a chair, only the chair has vanished and their quads are doing the work. Perfect!

If indoors, claim that space and decorate it with an inspirational quote or two or more on the wall. Inspiration is magical. Never underestimate the power of uplifting words. And with this quote here in mind, if you now feel that your daily exercise routine is important, it's more than okay to reprioritise other things. There's nothing like the buzz of those endorphins released from inside to kick start your day I say.

2. Your mat

The options are endless. I quietly despise thin yoga mats that are built for experts or little bones since my bones are big bones. We have body weight and that body wants to feel secure and comfy. You can use two thin yoga mats, on top of each other, or a thicker mat. If you're going to spend the money, ask to test the mat in the store, seriously! Go in wearing your workout gear and sit on that mat! It's like testing out a new bed, you lie on it in the store, right? Ask permission first..

3. What to wear

It's when I'm in my Moomoo dress at home that I feel happiest. My Moomoo dress is my go to Spanish cheapie I bought in Seville years ago. It's so light and flowing, being long, that I instantly feel like I'm the breeze wafting around. So put on anything that you feel seamless in. Comfort is key. Starchiness went out with Victoria dearest Queen.

Time to get posh but for practical posh reasons: I love my three quarter length Lorna Jane leggings. Sure, Lululemon are the go to for many women but Lorna Jane has a fantastic range of active wear with an even better fit in my opinion. I love dark blue or patterned leggings. Black is too bleak for me these days - royal blue is just so damn cute with white and on its own. I've had my Lorna Jane leggings for around 5 years now and my previous ones for almost a decade. And don't worry about brand boasting, just find any leggings which make you feel like a mermaid without the tail I say. You can still do the swish swish if you wish wish...

4. Where to start? Backwards!

Giant pause here

A. Habit time

What can you maintain for the next year and beyond, seriously?

I've always felt that unless you can truthfully, painfully honestly set aside

X amount of days for your wall and wellness, you will instantly feel discouraged. PALEEEZ do one thing for me - decide what's sustainable and how many times each week you'll hug that wall. If it's ONE, I say do the ONE and be happy! Repeat that ONE session a week until it's part of your victorious armour. Start small so you're never intimidated and fearful. Fads do not work; commitment does.

I want you to feel so proud of yourself for setting a small goal and sticking to it. I've seen Biggest Loser programmes where women put on more weight after their excruciatingly difficult regime just because they went in knickers blazing, and couldn't maintain it. The biggest motivation will be knowing you completed what you set out to do. Then bingo, by repeating what you've set your mind to do, you've formed your habit. Best thing of all, you're ENCOURAGED to keep going.

Here's what I suggest for firming up that habit:

B. Music time

Start with the music if music is your motivator, THEN worry about the moves. Put together a Spotify playlist or similar so you're already enthusiastic about moving. Don't even think about the moves. It's like getting dressed and starting with the shoes and moving upward. It's novel and exciting actually. To me it's what matters most and it's worth a go Lotus.

P.S If you're the silent type and prefer no noise and no distractions, please do it your way.

I will shut up now.

C. Movement time

This is where you can experiment with different instructors


try some alternatives which you'll read about soon.

Let's start with the standard approach.

Recommendations for instructors

I'd check that the instructor is qualified in some fitness field first, then it's a matter of hunting down a match on You Tube or IG or whichever medium you're into. I googled Beginners Wall Pilates and after looking at a good number of videos, really liked Jessica Valant's approach. Jessica is a licenced physical therapist and Pilates teacher with over 20 years’ experience. She has a treasure trove of videos for you to work out to.

Here's one of her Wall Pilates videos:

I also highly recommend Jo Tuffrey's programmes. She has a comprehensive website and online Pilates classes. Love her approach and passion for Pilates.

You mentioned being fifty Lotus. Well just in case you may be menopausal and the body is in shock, Jo has a programme specifically for you. Jo does Pilates which you can easily adapt to a wall. She sets you up with moves done safely and properly which you can use inside and outside with that mat. Once you know what to do you're set for life I say.

This link here takes you to an ITV special where Jo uses furniture and fixtures at home for Pilates moves. I didn't see a wall but then I had to go and feed Henry Hunkster, the dog, mid-way.

Okay, now for the more unconventional approach which is just as safe and effective, and a tad different.

Watch a You Tube Wall Pilates video with the music OFF

Use your own playlist/s and follow those moves! Why not flirt with the muses of music and movement. You did say you're 'flabby, flirty and fifty' so go flutter those lashes and wiggle your jiggle YOUR WAY!

Exercise Cards

Draw a sketch or use a digital medium to make your own individual Wall Pilates Exercise Cards after watching my recommended videos. Just flip to the next or make a folder on your phone with the pictures. This is a nice way of doing what you feel like in the same order or random order to create change. There's nothing like shaking up the moves so it feels fresh. If you're an illustrator or artist this is SO going to float your butt and kick up a howling hearty storm!

To access the exercises, take screen shots of your favourite qualified instructors' moves.

You can draw a sketch of the ones you like on bits of paper and enjoy the process or simply put them in a new photo folder

5. How long to exercise?

Start with a minute if you like. Maximum an hour I reckon. Thirty minutes would be my minimum recommendation but it's all about the habit so I'm not judging. Here Nita recommends three times a week but as I mentioned previously, ONE time a week is great as long as you stick to it

6. Is Wall Pilates THE be all and end all of toning?

I see any body movement where there's enough exertion to pant a bit, as REALLY decent for you and your longevity. Wall Pilates is fantastic. Try it, get into a habit and if it's not your thing then so be it. Any flirty fling with an exercise to make you sing is brilliant.

Wall Pilates, Yoga, Resistance Training etcetera are just different expressions of the ETCETERA! They mostly all serve the same human purpose: to look great, feel great and live long enough to smell those rosy roses. Wall Pilates is most definitely trending and mending, but so are other low impact moves.

Yoga is exertion going at a snail, 'ouchy' pace; Pilates increases the pull push intensity and well, Body Resistance is just a little step up with holding your body parts in one place for longer with more body to hold! Wall Pilates is just a novel way of using what's around you, It's working with your environment, not against it. ANY movement which increases your heart rate regularly is GOLD.

I used to take my own 'Bodyburn' classes in Hong Kong. It was essentially body resistance with most moves low impact and slow burning. Those who joined me often said the moves were like Pilates, though I've never actually tried official Pilates. I've watched Pilates since and discovered I was doing the same :) I had my lady screamers using walls, benches, poles and outdoor jungle gyms (miss you gals!). All this was to my music compilations and jeez we had fun!

Bodyburners working those butts!

7. The moves

Staying in one position with no movement is great for toning. It's called isometric = isolating a muscle group or groups or simply put, holding the body in one position. The muscles are contracted and don't move. When you do Wall Pilates or any moves which mix repetitive movement with the 'freeze', you get that burning sensation which is a good indicator of your cardiovascular effort and it's letting you know you're working hard. It's good pain.

So Lotus, take it slow and easy breezy baby. And don't be limited to one particular instructor or way, just get used to some of the moves and you'll build up enough confidence to introduce yourself to any wall you like the look of, on your terms!

You're going to love it :)


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