Location: Real Pilates – Tribeca
Time: 10am Monday
Instructor: Alycea Ungaro
The answer to my Pilates dreams has arrived – hello SpringTONE with Alycea Ungaro! How do I heart thee, let me count the muscles in my arms, abs and tush. I have been wanting to take this class for so long and it was well worth the anticipation. This was the hardest Pilates class I have ever taken – okay so I have taken my own (I know its hard) but I know my moves. This was uncharted territory and she lets you know not to expect Classical Pilates – heaven.
I love Classical Pilates but if you want to bore me to death, fine, stick me in a boring mat class where nothing ever changes; wake me up when its over. I needed a challenge, a refresher of why I teach and this was just the class. I teach tower classes once a week and tower can be stale if you don’t flow through it with new moves. These were some advanced creative moves and the tension on the springs was always at maximum. Alycea said she preferred the effect springs have on the muscle fibers because the constant tension; meaning you work harder than if you just lift weights.
I read Yelp reviews about the receptionist being unfriendly but that wasn’t my experience at all. The receptionist let me into class, I was late as per usual, without any hassle and couldn’t have been sweeter. I went downstairs into the class and was greeted by Alycea, who knows everyone by name, and her students were just as welcoming. Alycea has a great personality (my favorite quality in an instructor and the reason I always return or don’t), she is a celebrity in the Pilates world, but down-to-earth, funny and encourages a lively atmosphere. She is very diligent about form and alignment, the moves were challenging, but her charm kept the mood light and motivational. The students in the class were intermediate level who obviously had rapport with Alycea, and were allowed to banter and make jokes. An overall pleasant and encouraging environment for that challenging of a class.
The sequence began with lunges with a hand held weight and then we did lunges with the breathing bar. I can’t remember the sequence in its entirety because I was just trying to push through but its was something like this but in no particular order: arms springs pumping for the Hundred, leg springs with loads of Airplanes, a bridge pose (for rest), abs with arm springs, push down with the breathing bar, elephant with the breathing bar, push-ups wide armed and triceps, mountain climbers, thigh stretch and a bunch of just amazing hard moves which I haven’t forgotten but my muscles are too sore to relive at the moment. The spring on those towers are coiled tighter than Shirley Temples ringlets. The tower mats are not too cushy which allows your fingers and palms to plant down minimizing direct pressure on the wrists (bonus).
I usually don’t make ‘this is hard’ noises in Pilates but I did let out quite a few squeaks. The rest of class would moan in a sympathetic unison. This class was only 45 minutes and with this much resistance it should only be this long. You get everything in and no time is wasted. Alycea didn’t waste words, she said what she had to say, made sure you understood and did it all in proper form. I highly recommend this class and look forward to being a regular when I can make it. It was great to take from an instructor who loves to work hard just as much as I do. The creativity made me feel validated an refreshed as an instructor. I think that this class will challenge anyone at any level of fitness.