04 Mar Why Is The Pilates Mat Important?
Have you practiced Pilates on a Reformer or Tower for a long time? If so, how does it feel when you go back to the mat?
We know. It feels … pretty difficult.
Which is strange, because newcomers to mat Pilates are often conversely terrified of the equipment, remaining fearful of the moving parts and springs that is prevalent in Allegro or private sessions.
Then, once they get going on the equipment, the poor humble mat class becomes forgotten.
The truth is, says Flex director Heather Thomas Shalabi, everyone doing Pilates should look to the mat regularly, no matter how much you love the Reformer or Wunda Chair. And of course, you can do this on a mat at home in between studio sessions.
“With a focus back on the mat, you’re breaking up your routine, as well as reminding yourself of the basics,” she says.
“There is nothing like the challenge of a mat class to really cement the fundamentals of Classical Pilates sequences into your psyche. It’s just your mat and your body weight, so you have to really listen to the cues and engage constantly as the machinery isn’t there to remind you. Then, you can take that back to the Reformer.
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“Furthermore, mat classes use props, such as the ring, balance balls and thera-bands. These pack a real punch when it comes to building lean muscle, targeting abs and improving posture.
“Then, when you’re next working on the Tower, for example, you know you can access those muscles with or without it, giving you more access to nailing that equipment-based session.”
Mixing it up with some mat work also means you’re shifting focus again, great for mind-body control, which is the essence of functional movement.
Essentially, mat Pilates and equipment Pilates are both effective, but getting back to basics from time to time means we can ensure our bodies move well and in line with Classical Pilates teachings, with or without the springs or the foot straps.
Flex has again launched its popular March Matness offer! Get 1 Mat Pilates Class FREE for Every Allegro Class You Attend in March. Book now at the Flex app or online and get your best Classical Pilates practice! Click here to see the Pilates Allegro schedule.