“The Arm Chair informs the rest of the workout,” said Andrea Maida, at her Solana Beach studio. The Arm Chair, also known fondly as the “Baby Chair,” or “Old Lady Chair,” wasn’t included as part of my contemporary Pilates trainings and I didn’t buy one for my new Gratz studio. I’d only seen it at Vintage Pilates and I had just recently read Andrea’s Blog on the Baby Chair. I was intrigued, and I wanted to find out more so I could give my view as a former contemporary instructor trying out this semi-obscure chair for the first time. So, I travelled from my home in Davis, California to take a lesson with Andrea to find out what the Arm Chair was all about.
And Baby was not in a corner. Baby was center stage all dressed in white, looking fairly medieval with her springs and leather and wooden handles. Baby saw me and I was a little intimidated. I looked sideways, demurring. ”Have a seat!” said Andrea. “I must admit I’ve been a little obsessed with the Arm Chair lately, and sometimes I like to start here,” she said. And so, we started our session, albeit a little unorthodoxically for a classical Pilates session, beginning on the Chair and not the mat or reformer.
We started with Boxing! I thought that was a solid name to give the first exercise on the Old Lady Chair! What could possibly go wrong for me on a chair with smallish, light springs?
On a body like mine, with hypermobility syndrome, there were some things…
My left knee kept wandering, the handles wouldn’t stay level, and the springs kept hitting the back of the chair. Curse you Baby Chair! But I kept on boxing and found the Chair really was a good teacher. I finally found my center, which helped everything else come together.