Stand tall

Nne Ekeogbede via Pinterest

Last month, I began my Pilates certification on the apparatus known as the reformer. When I have completed my training, I will be able to teach Pilates. And possibly qualify for the “B” team of Cirque du Soleil.

This is not my first certification rodeo. I am certified in floral design, feng shui and even have a throwback aerobics certification from the 80’s, before they used headset microphones.  I have sat through classes in yoga, meditation, cooking, aromatherapy, brain aging, buddhism and most recently, blogging and web design.

A “Jackie” of all trades.

My Pilates trainer, Joseph, has become my guru and mentor throughout this process. I train with him everyday and, quite honestly, he is one of the most interesting people I have ever met. He is my “Mr.Miyagi.”

A few weeks back, I was working with him on the teaching dialogue of body alignment and I said, “Stand up straight.” Joseph gently corrected me, saying we are not built to stand straight, but to “stand tall.” Obviously, we each have our own curves and sinewy lines, while standing tall and correctly.

Wax on. Wax off. Stand tall.

I am a posture nazi. My daughter was 5’8 when she hit middle school and there was no way in hell I was going to let her shrink her shoulders and play it down. I wanted her to rock it like she was on the runway at NY fashion week. My kids have fond memories of me walking up behind them and jabbing “my bony finger”, as they lovingly recall, into the middle of their back. That was all I had to do when I wanted to correct them in public. At home, I just yelled, “posture”! Too bad I didn’t have “stand tall” in my mother’s arsenal, just yet.

There is so much metaphor to this simple correction. I find it creeps up in my day-to-day. When someone cuts you off in traffic, don’t honk or get angry, stand tall, take the high road, let him pass. If you’re working on something challenging, take a deep breath and stand tall. It’s just one day, you can do anything for one day. If you are unhappy in you current place in life, stand tall. Grab hold of your courage and take small, considered steps you need to better your position and take control of your life.

On the command, “stand up straight”, you immediately lift your chest, draw in air and hold your breath. How can you accomplish anything in this state?

Standing straight represents the inability to compromise or open your mind to alternative opportunities that may present themselves. You will not be able think outside the box. Hell, you are not even breathing!

When you “stand tall”, there is a feeling of centering calm that washes over. And, you are breathing. You have the ability to bend, be flexible and make the necessary corrections to whatever challenges come your way, mentally, emotionally or physically.

This week, I have not been at the top of my game. We have been hit with a lot of family issues which makes for challenges in managing my time and emotions. I realized I was trying to stand up straight to weather it all. I had to be my future self, the Pilates instructor I intend to be, and remind myself to breathe and stand tall.

Wax on. Wax off. Stand tall.

I didn’t plan to start my blog and start Pilates training concurrently. It just happened to all fall in place at the same time. I guess if I had just stared in the mirror at the studio, concentrating on standing with straight posture, I wouldn’t have really heard Joseph when he told me to stand tall.

But, then again, he is Mr. Miyagi.