As a teacher of Pilates, I generally come across two types of students– those who love the Pilates mat work and those who usually get dragged there kicking and screaming. I have had clients who refuse to do any mat work — usually out of fear of feeling vulnerable to injury without the support of the spring.
It’s true. The mat work is very challenging. Mr. Pilates knew this. He created his original exercises on a mat – he invented the springs and apparatus because people were not successful on the mat.
Although not every exercise is for everybody–the Pilates mat is an integral part of the Pilates method and system and should not be ignored. Here are 5 reasons why the mat deserves your attention:
- You can do it anywhere. Have you ever been on vacation or snowed in with a sudden urge to move your spine? Even springless– without a Cadillac or reformer in sight, you can always get your Pilates fix on a mat. You don’t need any fancy equipment- just make sure you are using a thicker mat (a yoga mat is too thin and will not provide adequate cushioning for your spine.)
- It tells the truth. The mat exercises are like a great instructor–they will let you know what you need to work on. Example-the roll back bar will assist in spinal articulation, but how well can you do a roll up without the help of a spring? The mat reveals all your weaknesses and lets you know what muscles need to balance and strengthen.
- It exercises independence. The Pilates method is so empowering because it gives you the tools to be physically independent and move, twist, and bend everyday and as you age. Mr. Pilates believed so much in self sufficiency that he expected his students to take charge of own workout. There is nothing more independent than the mat work because it is all you.
- You will perspire- Part of the challenge of a pilates workout is to move continuously from one exercise to the next. Without sticky pads, boxes, and straps, the mat work makes it easier to flow and transition from one exercise to the next
- You will find your internal springs. You get to finally use all your training on the apparatus to find your internal springs on the mat. It’s a challenge for your mind and your body What can be more fun than doing single leg circles and imagining there is a spring attached your foot?