As March begins, all of us in the Pilates world prep for #MarchMatness. It’s the time when we devote a whole month to the original mat repertoire and take it back to some of the Pilates fundamentals. This month on the blog we are going to dive a little deeper into the not only the work itself, but a little Pilates history, and some ways we spice it up at our studio through TRX and Mat Hybrid classes.
First published in 1945, “Return to Life through Contrology”, details the exercises, poses, and instructions fundamental to the mat work developed by Joseph and Clara Pilates. In it, Joseph himself demonstrated the exercises in impeccable form – at 60 years of age! In the book, he also begins to dive into the philosophy behind the practice – what many consider the mind-body elements of Pilates. At the studio, we incorporate many of the mat exercises into all of our classes, but if you really want to hit the mat try out our Mat Hybrid class — You can learn more about all our classes and schedule your class here.
Did you know you might not recognize the original mat work in a contemporary Pilates mat class today? Joseph Pilates sequenced 34 exercises to be done in a particular order that many classical studios still teach today. If practiced faithfully and diligently according to the instructions given, he claimed, one would approach the ideal physique and health within three months time. The majority of the exercises were done lying down to avoid strain on the heart and relieve stress on the internal organs and the spine. According to Joseph, as we “relearn” to move better, we get years back on our lives, and “return to life”.
And by the way, “the Mat” was not just a rubber mat you roll out on the floor, but a an elevated construction – complete with foam padding, a foot strap, boxes for foot placement, and dowels to hold on to for certain exercises. Makes you take a second look at your rolled up mat doesn’t it?
Mat work has taken on a whole new meaning in today’s world, but that doesn’t mean that its roots have been forgotten. As mat work has gone mainstream, Joseph Pilates original mat exercises have influenced other fitness methods and gained more exposure around the world. A lot of people start our their Pilates journey with the mat repertoire. If you are interested in starting your Pilates journey with us, the best way is to schedule an intro session. We cover all the basics, including some mat work. Learn more about getting started here.
Interested in trying some mat work? All March long, we will be infusing Pilates Mat inspired exercises into all of our classes. We are taking it back to the Mat!
For a more in-depth history lesson, check out this video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWkxhtfw0A8