Pilates Retreat: Day 4 (Roosters)

Day 4 began with my usual slow jog around the lake. Leaving the hotel is a bit like going on a walking safari. One has to navigate roaming chickens, dogs, cows, and cats to get to the lake’s promenade. To be truthful, this village makes me a bit nostalgic. If I close my eyes, the smell of meadow grass and flowers take me back to my grandparent’s farm. The sounds, too, are reminiscent of the farm. The singing of birds. The moo-ing of cows. The call of roosters? Now that is one thing my grandparents did not have.

And now I know why.

This place is the New Zealand of roosters. Roosters must surely outnumber people 16-to-1. Not only are they well represented but also extremely vocal. Each rooster seems to be competing to see who can out-cock-a-doodle-do the other.  Non-stop. Twenty-four hours a day to be precise.

They were charming when they joined voices with the morning call to prayer.
They were cute at lunchtime (I thought they were the roosters who had overslept).
They were tolerable mid-afternoon.
By dinnertime, they were the cause of major eye-rolling.

If I had to listen to them through the night, I would resort to a more coordinated response involving vocal box and projectile-hurling appendages (and, yes, the monsters, I mean roosters, are up and at it all through the night…maybe they have gone stark raving mad due to being sleep-deprived…or perhaps they have created a special schedule to ensure full cock-a-doodle coverage of the town to drive residents and guests alike stark raving mad?).

All I can say is that the roosters should be thankful for the noisy air conditioner in my room.

After the jog, it was the same routine: Pilates; breakfast; sun; sleep; 2nd session of Pilates; and another delicious, homemade dinner accompanied by a bottle of tasty Turkish Rosé. Now, back in my room, I write this to the sound of traditional music being played outside my window. It is the kind of music that one envisions gypsies, in colorful skirts that fan out under them, twirling to. Soon I will head to bed and begin another grueling day of retreat living.

But before I sign off, given that I am on Pilates retreat, I was thinking I should write a bit more about the Pilates sessions.  Pilates focuses a lot on the core and using controlled body movements to develop strength and flexibility. Traditional Pilates is matt-based, although there are also exercises done standing-up (my preference, as stated before, is the matt-based…I find that pain is more tolerable when lying down than standing up). There is not much huffing and puffing involved (although I must admit that when my instructor has me follow her moves in an uninterrupted flow of exercises, I am shocked by how much heaving and sweating I can do in a horizontal position)*.

We start off by slowly warming up the spine and joints. Then we move on to more demanding core work, branching off to arm- and leg- fatiguing exercises. It is not easy, but it is very bearable. Also, Pilates is easily tailored to an individual’s fitness level – his/her strength, flexibility, etc. It is an ideal go-at-your-own-pace workout. Unfortunately my instructor has figured out my penchant for laziness and likes to give me the benefit of the doubt and push (i.e. torture) me harder than I would if I were going at my own “pace.” The upside of this is that I can actually feel my front and sides firming up. Considering the few days I have been at this – and the not-so-few calories I have been throwing at my system – I think that is pretty remarkable.

And if I grow an inch over the long run? Then I’ll have something to crow about.

* This is a Pilates retreat, folks…elevate those minds!

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