PEOPLE often ask me about how Pilates differs from Yoga. Now, I’m not a Yoga teacher or even a Yoga practitioner, although I have been to quite a few Yoga classes in my time.

There are lots of differences between the two practices but one thing that sets Pilates apart is our use of apparatus to help educate the body into better movement.

Pilates equipment is not about ‘adding difficulty’ to what we do and the feeling of working with our apparatus is nothing like any exercise you would perform in the gym. Pilates equipment is based on the use of springs. Rather than just pulling against the spring, when you would naturally feel resistance, being able to stabilise the body against the release of the spring is what we are most interested in. The clue is in the original name that Joe Pilates called his work: Contrology. As a Pilates teacher, I don’t look for a strict and rigid control of movement, but rather the stabilising effect of certain deep muscles of the body, which crates an elegant strength and flexibility.

If you’ve been keeping up with me, you’ll know I love my apparatus studio and I’ve been running it since 2004.

Some might think that the Pilates Reformer is a new exercise fad. I’ve got to say, it makes me smile when I read about this ‘new Pilates class’! Actually Joe Pilates introduced this bit of kit into his own gym way back in the 1930s and there have been Reformer studios in this country since 1984. We used to joke that we would only give a student a mat exercise if they were waiting to use one of the machines! The traditional set up for a Pilates equipment class would be with just three or four students. They would normally begin with the exercises on the Reformer, continue on to the Cadillac, the Wunda Chair and the Ladder Barrel, according to what the teacher felt was the best exercise and each student followed their own programme. Personally, I am a massive fan of the Cadillac, otherwise known as the Trapeze table. Looking a bit like a four poster bed for one person, this is the biggest piece of Pilates apparatus. Lie on it, hang on it, do pull ups, attach springs… Pilates movement concepts and equipment are so simple but infinitely versatile. Just genius in fact!

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