In classical Pilates, we refer to many exercises that are performed on a collection of classical apparatus found in a studio or gymnasium that form the Pilates system along with the mat.
Within a classical Pilates studio, we can help all bodies of ages and abilities, and introduce them to work on these apparatus and mat having little or no prior experience of the Pilates method.
The great thing about this system is you can be introduced to any of the pieces of apparatus at any experience or fitness level, you just start where you are at. Therefore there is separation between mat work or any other apparatus in the studio, as every piece is an integral part of the system at all levels, beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.
When a new client comes to the studio for the first time, they are treated as a beginner And we want them to get Pilates into their bodies by teaching them the fundamentals and the beginner exercises. We can teach them this on most of the apparatus available in the studio.
The mat work and Reformer exercises are considered the “Meat and Potato” of the workout where we can teach the new client a set sequence of beginner exercises in a structured sequence that will get the new body working towards a stronger more stable body regardless of age, gender or level of condition/ fitness.
Both the beginner Mat and Reformer repertoire focus on realigning the body, focusing on stabilising the shoulder girdle, rib cage and pelvis and allowing the client to become more body aware and used to moving their body. We also give the new client ideas of focusing their mind to build new connections to parts of their body they may not be aware of anymore, building a body awareness faculty that helps to decompress throughout each exercise so the new body feels “lifted and stretched”.
Each individual exercise is in the said set order of sequence so that the client, with more practice and perseverance, can apply mental focus and use repetition to master the exercises so over time will build up strength and balance in the muscles and gain stamina and strength to be able to build up the repertoire of exercises and build in more complex moves as they become more stable and proficient in their exercises.
We quickly learn how to use our own built-in mechanisms to decompress our bodies. We learn to correctly breathe to get more out of our movement and literally wring our breath to enable detoxification at the cellular level as we connect breath to movement. We use our deepest sling of muscles to connect the whole body from crown of the head to the heel of feet and the deepest muscles “powerhouse” to switch on and lift ourselves out of compression relieving poor posture and sometimes alleviating pain due to slouching and poor muscle tone.
Over the weeks of practising good movement which we call Pilates, our bodies become renewed, stretched, strengthened and we gain more control of our own bodies .. total self-empowering! We feel more energised, and invigorated in our practice, the exercises feel more controlled but also start to flow more and there is a poetry to the workout where the transition between each move takes on skill and an art form. The practice becomes more playful between the body the mind and spirit.
Our heads are on straighter and feel like they are floating up to the ceiling, we get a more elegant tone to our necks. Shoulders and buttocks are more toned and stomachs become flatter. We learn to feel that our arms and legs are now more coordinated and feel like they are moving more from our centre.
When it comes to The Pilates method. The beginner system is key! The detail really does live in the beginner exercises, there is no use in skimming over the basics, the devil is in the details and you will learn so much from these basics, if you think it’s easy… do it again, better!
So we learn to stabilise, articulation, we go from one exercise to the next challenging the body further by reducing its base of support whilst performing more challenging exercises. These classical exercises so ingeniously created by Joseph H Pilates were given in a set order for a reason! Don’t skip or scrimp on any of it!
As the new body gets stronger they can be continually challenged further but firstly must master and study the beginner system and therefore synchronise the body and mind so the person may enjoy the Pilates system as a whole.