“I’m new….” The perfect place to start your Pilates Practice: Pilates Mat Work

Once Joseph Pilates immigrated to the US, he developed the mat version of Pilates to accompany his equipment-based program. This mat variation developed into an important component of the Pilates method and is the most appropriate place to begin one’s Pilates practice. The mat work introduces the body to key movements and breath patterns that are always used for Pilates.

These include:

Neutral pelvis- This is a position where your hip bones and pubic bone are in the same plane, which helps to correct many postural imbalances that exist today.

C-curve and spinal articulation- These movements help to free up tight back muscles and poor posture patterns.

Back muscle engagement- By learning to contract the large back muscles called the latissimus dorsi (other wise known as the “lats”) and relax the shoulder muscles, you are able to counter act the common hunched or rounded shoulder posture that is so prevalent today.

Abdominal muscle engagement- Making this connection can be one of the hardest elements of this work. By creating the mind/muscle connection with your abs you are able to develop the ability to actively, and subconsciously, use your abs for better support, stabilization and power- meaning flatter tummies, less injuries and better functionality in all activities.
Breath- Without it we die, and with it used to its full capacity we grow stronger, longer and leaner.

There are 34 standard Pilates mat exercises created by Joseph Pilates. They are all important for different reasons, challenging the body’s musculature in different ways. As Pilates has hit the main-stream and our knowledge  about physiology increases, these exercises have been adapted to include different tools such as the Pilates Circle, resistance bands and exercise balls.

What can you expect from making Pilates a regular part of your fitnes regime?
A longer. leaner looking physique, increased energy and stamina, and fewer aches and pains from the stresses of everyday life.

The concepts behind Joseph Pilates’ approach to physical and mental fitness can be employed for all ages, shapes and fitness levels. Once one learns these concepts they can be incorporated into everyday activities such as walking down the street or waiting in line at the market. And for the elite athlete, the improvements to their performance are tremendously rewarding.