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Pilates Mat Work - why?

Updated: Oct 5, 2021

"No man - No machine can correct or create vitality, power, or health for you; everything comes from within; you have to unfold it."

- Joseph H Pilates -

When I first tried Pilates, it was in a mat class. I had inquired from a flyer I saw hanging at the Starbucks where I worked at the time (Starbucks was short lived because hours were brutal). At first I went to one Pilates class a week, quickly I started going twice a week, then I started telling my friends and so on..... Clearly, I loved Pilates from the start. One time, I was the only person that showed up for class, lucky me! The Instructor offered to take me to her studio down the road and give me a private session on the equipment; Reformer, Cadillac, Chair and Barrell. Why would I deny that offer, I love Pilates, I love exercise and I love to try new things. Little did I know, this is where it all started.......

I continued to go to that mat class two times per week as often as I could. I received a couple more of those complimentary private sessions on the equipment and I was hooked. I started taking private sessions as well as the mat class. My Instructor at the time encouraged me to go through the training to become an Instructor myself, because she could clearly see how much I enjoyed the sessions. I researched different training programs and found the one I liked. It was split into three different courses, the first one being the Intensive Mat Pilates. I started my training in January of 2007 and my intention was to just take the Mat Pilates training, get certified and teach enough Mat classes to pay for my private sessions. I took the three-month course and before I was even certified, but had finished my training, I was offered a job teaching mat class at the local community center. I continued to find an abundance of opportunities to teach mat class and get paid, it was definitely meant to be. I ended up getting my full equipment training and certification on Reformer, Cadillac, Chair and Barrels as well as mat repertoire.

I continued to teach mat classes in many different locations and at all hours for approximately four years. As I look back at those first mat classes I took and the many different mat classes I taught, I can honestly say that mat class was the true foundation of my passion for practicing and teaching Pilates. However, teaching Pilates mat classes can be very difficult and get boring after so much time. I was happy to find work teaching private and duet sessions on the equipment and adding in small groups of equipment classes as well. When I moved my studio and business into my home, I had no room to even think about mat classes, but still I tried and unfortunately it just didn't succeed. My return to teaching those classes was again surprisingly exciting. I remembered how good I felt after moving through the flow of a class on the floor. I started practicing my own mat Pilates again. I am happy to say, this past year I have found virtual mat classes for myself, and it is amazing to be taught instead of teach.

Suddenly, in 2020 as the Pandemic was in full swing, I found myself teaching my clients virtually through zoom with most of them doing only mat Pilates work. It was inspiring what I saw, my clients who chose to continue working virtually on the mat became so strong. Those that were able to do two times per week even stronger. What I discovered is what I already knew to be true, a body can learn the fundamentals through mat Pilates but it’s hard. If practiced more than one time a week the body naturally starts to do what it is supposed to. Joseph Pilates designed his method beginning with mat work, and only later did he develop the equipment to either support or challenge the body. Incorporating Pilates mat class into your regular routine is essential and it should not be ignored. I am now able to see similarities in the exercises done on the Mat, the Reformer, Cadillac and all of the Pilates equipment. I can make it harder or easier by using small props such as bands or mini stability balls, even small hand weights. The greatest thing about Mat Pilates is that you can do it anywhere, all you need is a mat or even a towel will do. With virtual classes in place, you don't even have to leave your home. Pilates is all about working the body through every range of motion and the Mat work just has a flow about it that feels so good. When I first started taking Pilates Mat class my youngest of three children was five years old and every time I was in class I only thought about what I needed to do to get through each exercise, at the end of class not only was my body relieved but my mind was calm and quiet. I used to tell my clients that Pilates is the best mommy exercise and to this day I believe it. Now with so many people working too many hours and in stressed out environments I encourage everyone to try it. Pilates is an exercise that anyone can do, and everyone should do! Mat class is the most affordable, no excuses way to go.

In 10 sessions you will feel the difference,

in 20 you will see the difference,

and in 30 you'll have a whole new body"

- Joseph H Pilates -

Consistent action over time is key.

You must commit to being in class to see the results,

but if you do, it works!

- Kristy Guadalupe –

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