THE IMPORTANCE OF THE PILATES MAT EXERCISES
So, what can a mat class give you? Well … all the benefits of Pilates … toning, flexibility, improved posture, a mind/body connection and overall improved functional mobility – plus, it’s the ultimate core workout! A tree is only as strong as its trunk and roots, the same goes for our bodies. If we don’t have a strong foundation, (core) known as the “powerhouse” in Pilates, we will have tightness in some places, weaknesses in others and therefore, increasing our chances of injury. But Pilates Mat can balance you out provide a strong foundation.
The Pilates Mat work was formerly known as “Contrology” because it is the control of your mind in controlling the body to perfectly execute the exercises to create an uniformly developed physique. It is highly regarded by dancers because of the long, lean benefits alongside the improved posture and poise. Today, many high performance athletes practice Pilates Mat to improve their running, agility, and even to prevent concussions. At Bodylines, we help many clients by improving their back or other joint pain, movement restrictions and breathing! Yes, you can even improve your breathing by taking Pilates Mat. Resulting in less stress and improved cognitive functioning! We’d like to think you’ll be smarter once you leave a Bodylines class.
Love the Pilates Reformer? No matter how much you may love the Reformer or other pieces of Pilates apparatus, everyone should practice the mat exercises regularly. It is the foundation of Classical Pilates where you learn fundamental techniques. These fundamental techniques are easier to learn on a stable surface (mat), where there are no springs or other things to keep up with. Learning the basics such as neutral spine, c-curve, shoulder and pelvic stability, spinal articulation, breathing, activating the deep transverse abdominals and pelvic floor- all help your practice on the Reformer or ANY other workout!
Mixing in mat work also means shifting your focus, which is great for the mind-body connection. The mat is a perfect place to practice the pilates principles of centering, concentration, control, precision, breath and flow. Since it’s only you, the mat, and your (fabulous) Bodylines instructor- it allows you to ONLY focus on your practice without the distractions of equipment, music or weights. Taking this increased awareness back to the Reformer, other workouts or routine activities will help your body AND your mind.
The best part about Pilates mat exercises is it’s adaptable for all levels of fitness and you can do it anywhere. You just need a mat!
We challenge you to jump in and try some Pilates Mat work!!!
In March we have teamed up with other studios across the U.S. to bring you “March Matness”. Follow us on instagram to see our daily video and tips on all the Classical Pilates Mat exercises. And as always, you can take your first mat class for free at Bodylines! Simply call us: 978-772-2394 or email us.
Article written by Louise Helmer, Bodylines Instructor and Physical Therapist Assistant.