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How to get started with Mat Pilates

Updated: Apr 10

Pilates is a great and gentle form of exercise to keep you body mobile and strong. Any body at any age can benefit from starting mat Pilates. The method recruits a lot of smaller muscles that you don't tend to use in your daily life, but are needed to help keep your core strong which then supports your body and posture as you go about living life.

Where should I do it?

The joy of mat Pilates is that it can be done anywhere, anytime! It is so versatile, I have practised in many corridors and random places while travelling. It is always good to have a trained instructor to guide and watch you when you are starting out, good alignment is key! A quick search on Google will help you find a local studio. Also check the instructor is certified in Pilates before you start.

If you do not want to start in a studio then there are many online sites that offer either live classes online or an on-demand service where you select a class video and play when you wish.

What do I need?

You do not need any equipment to start, just rolling out a towel on the floor will do. Your body weight is enough to challenge you. Mat classes will also include some small props like a foam roller. The props help challenge you and can also help increase a stretch and aid a movement.

Wear comfortable clothing, no belts. People often wear grippy socks to stop your feet from slipping. As you progress Pilates has rolling and inversion movements, these are better to be done on a thick mat.

What will I be doing?

Pilates is a mind and body connection through movement. You will move around the mat from lying on your back, to on your side and onto your front. You will also do some movements seated and some movements upper weight bearing. When you become more advanced some inversion and full body exercises at the end. Maybe starting and/or finishing standing up. You will start with a core warm up to get the deep abdominal muscles to wake up and support you throughout the rest of the class. You will then do back work, strengthening the muscles around your spine and lengthening your spine into extension. You will also do side work to strengthen the obliques and side support. You may also do weight bearing, seated work for mobilising the spine and then once you are warmed up progress to more full body movements.

You will move around the mat to work your full body, strengthen the muscles, mobilise the spine and improve your balance and alignment.

What should I expect?

I joke that if class seems easy then it is not Pilates! You should always feel like you have worked you body after a class. The muscles you work are not generally used as you go about your day to day life so you will feel like you have worked them, but you should never feel pain with Pilates. Listen to your body.

When you first start it is a lot to learn and think about, you will have worked your mind and body after class. Full concentration is needed throughout class, this is great for stress as you have to be fully in the moment for class.

As you progress Pilates will become more advanced so you will never feel that it is easy, it just gets harder as you get better. There is always something to work towards, you will never get bored!

What are the benefits?

Spine health, core strength, better alignment and posture. Pilates is a full body workout, you will leave class moving with ease and feeling longer and stronger. For more information on the benefits please link here.

How ever you start the main thing is that you start, this is the hardest part! Give it a go, you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain.

If you have any questions just get in touch with Kat at Kajoma Studio. The studio provides classes at the studio and an on-demand video service. To learn more about the online Pilates service please link here. If you would like to give Pilates online a go please contact the studio to be sent a free class to see if you like it! link here to contact the studio

If you know someone who would benefit from Pilates but needs a gentle push then the Online Pilates Gift Voucher of Pilates Starter Gift Box would be a great choice. Please click below to find out more.

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