Have you fallen in love with Mat Pilates yet?


Read Hilary’s first blog to hear how the “Stay Home” message led her to fall in love with Pilates on the Mat.


Anyone who knows me – or even if you’ve talked to me for a little while – will know that I’m not (or, I should say, I wasn’t) a fan of Pilates on the Mat.   


Before coming to All Things Pilates, I’d tried Pilates before, but it was always mat only – and it just didn’t work for me.  However, once I was introduced to the reformer, the trapeze table and the ladder barrel, I started to fall in love with Pilates, even to the point of training to become an instructor.  I relished my sessions with Gemma and when the opportunity to work in the studio came along, I couldn’t believe my luck – I could practice much more frequently and begin to share my passion with the All Things Pilates community. 


But, I still couldn’t fall in love with the mat – I knew I’d have to learn the movements if I was ever to pass my assessment to qualify as an instructor, but it was more of a chore than a joy.  I’d spend time on my mat most days, but kept my repertoire limited to the relatively few movements I felt comfortable with. 


Then, out of nowhere, the unthinkable happened – due to Covid 19, the studio had to close and I was left with a stark choice – stop practising Pilates, or get on my mat!  Happily, I chose the latter 


I’m so fortunate to be surrounded by brilliant instructors who have taken to teaching online classes like ducks to water.  Gemma plans our sessions so thoroughly, but I know that, on a moment’s notice, she can switch her planned sessions to one that meets the needs of my body – and even my emotional wellbeing – on any given day. 


I’ve joined classes led by other teachers in the team and have been just as inspired by them – I don’t know how they can still spot that my big toe isn’t doing what it should – but they do!  I guess it’s because the classes are small, so there’s time to focus on everyone as an individual. 


I’ve found myself performing movements from the Pilates repertoire that I couldn’t have imagined even a few short weeks ago.  The skill, which I think is particularly relevant to online classes, is in starting with a fairly simple movement and gradually adding layers of challenge, until ‘suddenly’ I’m doing something quite complex – and doing it well! 


Of course, passing an exam isn’t my real motivation – the real impetus, particularly in lockdown, is in maintaining and even improving my mobility, flexibility, strength and stamina and supporting my emotional wellbeing – quite a tough ask during a period of almost total isolation. 


I’m now finding that I want to spend more time on the floor – even to watch the TV – and I’m increasingly comfortable being there.  In my own practice sessions, I’ve started to ‘play’ with the movements and find my flow in the way that I’d become used to with the equipment. 


My mat sessions are now my joy – and often, the highlight of my day.  I know that will continue long after the studio re-opens.