The A-Z of Pilates - M is for Mat Classes and Mindfulness

What are Pilates Mat Classes?


Pilates mat classes are the most accessible type of Pilates class as all the benefits that Pilates exercise has to offer can be achieved through attending well planned and delivered mat classes. Classes provide an extremely good low impact body workout that will, over time, transform the way you feel and look physically and you will gain habits that will serve you for a lifetime. You will achieve that all-important core strength, have improved shoulder and pelvic stability, increased movement in the joints and spine and a more poised and elongated posture.


What do Mat Classes have to do with Mindfulness?


Pilates mat classes are also good for the mind and, in fact, Pilates is often referred to as a mind/body exercise system. It works the body in such a way that is quite deceptively physical as well as requiring a real mental focus on the Pilates principals of centering, concentration, control, precision, breathing, and flowing movement. This mindful attention to the execution of the exercises brings a quality and focus that is much more than a physical experience and, done properly will have the added benefit of transporting you away from all those everyday distractions and relieving stress.


What happens in a Pilates Mat Class?


Most Pilates teachers will have a structure to their mat classes. For example, my Pilates classes typically start with a focus on posture and body alignment, a gentle warm up of exercises that mobilises the neck and spine, the joints of the shoulder, hip, knees and ankles and generally release tension overall.


Next, the main body of my class will include a series of exercises performed down on the mat in a range of different positions, such as lying supine on your back, prone on your front, sitting, lying on your side or positioned on hands and knees. In between, I may also include some transition stretches or mini exercises so that the class content flows between positions and there is never a wasted opportunity to benefit. Finally, I like my classes to finish with everyone back in the standing position to focus on a lengthened and poised posture and neutral body alignment.


Wherever you go to do a Pilates class, always start slowly and take your time, stop for a rest when your body tells you it is time, and please do not force any movements or ‘work through a pain barrier’. Quality over quantity is my absolute firm belief…. it is better to do less repetitions, or a lower level of an exercise with quality and focus, rather than do more repetitions or a higher level with little or no technique. All the component movements of a Pilates exercise are performed with fluidity and with no unnecessary tension, and you will be focusing on your breathing, your central core connection, isolating muscles that an exercise is intended to work, lengthening the body and how the exercises feels for you…in other words being really very mindful indeed!


If you have never been to a Pilates class before, or would like to refresh your knowledge and ability, you may be interested in my beginners class on Thursday at 5.45pm in Orlingbury.


Or just take a look at my Class Timetable page to see where else I run classes and get in touch to discuss your options. Pilates exercise is certainly an investment in your future self! Look forward to hearing from you.


Email:       Telephone: 07776 058973



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This entry was posted on March 21, 2018