Before You Buy a Pilates Exercise Mat

I came across an article about Pilates Mat and I thought some of you may want an expert opinion, offered by I agree with the author that there are so many mats that you really need to think about your needs and preferences before you buy a mat. As the author mentioned, mats about half an inch thick are great! My personal opinion is you have to test the mat. Some Pilates mat look like they are really thick but when you press them with your fingers, they may just soften and sink in. Hence they are not as thick as they seem because it is highly our body weight will flatten the mat further. I have used so many mats in my years of practice and I highly recommend a Pilates mat produced by AIREX because:

1. The quality is tremendous and provides good support.

2. The Mat is light and can be maintained easily by washing/cleaning.

3. The Mat has a very long life span.

If you do not have a mat now, consider this mat seriously and click to buy now!



Most Pilates studios have Pilates mats, usually very nice ones, and unlike yoga, Pilates students are rarely expected to bring their own. Of course if you have your own mat, you may very well want to take it to the studio, but the real reason to get a Pilates is mat is for your home workout.

Pilates mats are available in a variety of styles, sizes and colors. Read through the following guide and think about what your needs and preferences really are, before you buy!

Pilates Mats vs Yoga Mats

Pilates and yoga mats are similar in that they are about the same size and used for exercises done on the floor. However, a Pilates mat needs to be thicker than most yoga mats. Because there are so many standing poses in yoga, mats used for yoga have to let the practitioner feel the floor. This is not so important with a Pilates mat. In fact, Pilates mats are thicker so that we are padded from the floor. Believe me, rolling exercises like Seal and Open Leg Rocker are no fun without padding! Also, yoga mats are sticky, designed to prevent slipping – an unlikely hazard with Pilates exercises.

The Size of the Mat

  • A good Pilates mat is at least a half inch thick. I see a lot of thinner mats marketed as Pilates mats, but they are really just yoga cross-over mats.
  • A Pilates mat should also be firm. A mat that is too soft will not support balance and alignment properly.
  • Make sure that the mat is long enough and wide enough. Typical roll up mat lengths are 72″ – 86″, though I have seen them as short as 56″. Widths vary from 21″ to 39″. There are also folding mats, similar to the kinds of mats found in studios, and those are usually significantly larger, 4′ by 8′ for example.

Roll Up Pilates Mats

The mats that roll up offer the benefits of being portable and easy to find at stores or online. These mats are usually made of dense foam or rubber. To my mind, the closed cell foam mats are the best. They tend to be thicker and firmer than regular foam mats.

Folding Pilates Mats

Folding Pilates mats are very desirable when you get the higher quality types. They are more expensive than the roll up mats, costing up to $300.00 or a bit more. These are closer to what you find in a studio. The higher quality folding mats are heavier and not quite as portable, though they usually do have carrying straps attached. If you want to outfit a home studio, this is the way to go.


Pilates Training – Swimming

I always feel Swimming is a really good activity that involves the upper and lower limbs. This means your whole body is involved in exercise, you get a good work out and you become evenly toned. With the buoyancy provided by the water, there is minimal stress on the knees unlike running. Anyone who does Pilates training knows of another kind of swimming and this is what you see in the Pilates video below. Many Pilates beginners who start doing the Pilates mat swimming always says it is hard to coordinate hands and legs such that they alternate.

Pilates training does not just mean your physical body

I think one aspect of Pilates Training less spoken about is the fact that you also work your mental and emotional body. That is why you often see the words Mind or Spirit other than Body used to describe Pilates. When I talk to avid Pilates practitioners, I realise these are usually people who have a greater awareness of their physical bodies, are focused, energetic and are open.

Mind your Pilates Training

When you practise the Swimming, you have to alternate the arms and legs which may be difficult for some and easy for others. The good news is if you concentrate and focus on doing it right, you will get it. It is just a matter of practice and time. Coordination can be trained. You just have to go slow at the beginning with the movement.

Can Pilates Training affect your Emotional State?

Yes I say. There are people who are tight in the front of their chest that were attributed to some form of emotional trauma or state and Pilates training that helps to open a person’s front can help to release that emotional tightness and bring about more openness and freedom. The Swimming is one exercise that can help with that and I think physical exercises have the power to affect the emotional state.

Enjoy your Pilates training video and give your comments!


How to do Pilates Mat – Hip Circles?

Most people will think since Pilates Mat is readily available, it must be a beginners work. Unfortunately about 1/3 of the mat Pilates exercises are not beginner exercises. We have come to the 2nd half of the Pilates mat exercises where there are more interesting pieces. The hip circles is just one example and commonly done just after the Teaser. This exercise focus a lot on the obliques (commonly known as sides of the waist) which most people do not exercise enough unless you do a lot of exercises that require you to twist. If you are ever thinking of a slimmer waist, this is one exercise you do not want to miss.

Pilates works your whole body

We do not really think just obliques alone to do the hip circles well. Our deep abdominal muscles (Transverse abdominis) and back muscles (Erector spinae) play an important role in keeping our body stabilized to doing this piece well. Without working these muscles, what we commonly see is a lower back that arch and tilts as we circle. This can cause lower back pain or aches which is unnecessary and not needed in this piece. At the same time, the shoulders are another area of concern. As our shoulders are in an end range of extension, we also need to pull our shoulder blades down slightly to limit our tendency to elevate it. Our inner thighs are also pulled together, knee extensors working to keep the legs fully straight and feet pointed. That is why we say Pilates works the whole body.

so it is important that Pilates beginners take a progressive approach

With so many things to focus on, it makes sense to break the hip circles down to simpler parts. I would encourage you to practise the simplified version of the Corkscrew, Saw, Single leg circles, Spine Twist and Teaser first before attempting the hip circles. With the simplified Corkscrew, you could concentrate on the lower half of the body (Master Teacher Ron Fletcher called it the lower hemisphere), while the upper half (upper hemisphere) is stable on the ground. With such approach you will find yourself improving your Pilates consistently.

Can we modify Pilates exercises?

Yes of course you can! I always feel that if you are having a lot of difficulty doing something, then it makes perfect sense to modify it. So in the hip circles, some modifications you may want to consider is performing this piece with slightly bent knees. However this does not mean you stop working hard on your obliques. You still want to do this piece as if your legs were fully straight. Another modification could be leaning further back to be on your elbows. Usually people with tight hamstrings will feel the need to take these modifications since it would be really difficult to keep the legs up. However having said that, if you really need to modify a lot, you may not be ready for this piece and better off practising the other similar pieces.

Have fun practising this Pilates mat piece and share your experiences!


Therapy for the body and sole

When I first learnt Pilates, the feet was something Pilates Master Teacher, Ron Fletcher, talked about and he emphasized a lot of it. He had this 7 standing and centreing cues which forms the foundation and fundamental tool for my teaching. With this understanding, I start all my Pilates classes standing and have been doing so for more than 7 years. Nobody really taught us how to stand when we were young. The very most I hear is “Stand Straight” and that was from my mum! I understood a lot more of this when I started learning the Fletcher Towelwork and the Leg and Footwork on the Pilates equipments.

I chose to bring your attention to the article below when I came across it because I also noticed there aren’t too many Pilates books that give much attention to talking about the feet. At the same time most books go too much in depth that many of you might not be interested to read further so such articles are good to get you started. I wanted us to take a moment today to give more awareness to our feet in our Pilates training and start exercising them!


Therapy for the body and sole

By | 06/08/10

The thought of running around barefoot in the grass may conjure memories of childhood play, but people are leaving their stuffy gyms and running shoes in the dust to take fitness back to its roots, to move the body the way it was designed. Believe it or not, those fancy shoes may actually be hindering your performance, and your health. With warm weather here, now is the time for you to get in on this innovative, fun and surprisingly beneficial way to work up a sweat.

training tip: Because of our history, in order to safely run barefoot we must undo years of bad habits. Since most Americans grow up wearing shoes and are used to running and walking striking heel first, barefoot running should be eased into by alternating shoe and barefoot runs, and starting out on soft surfaces like grass and sand.

Going au naturel
While running barefoot might seem like all fun and games, it has helped eliminate knee, foot and Achilles pain where running shoes cannot. Researchers have found that those who run in shoes land on the heel of their foot, causing an impact of up to two to three times the runner’s body weight. Multiply that impact with each step you take on a long run and it’s no wonder avid runners are often plagued by repetitive stress injuries. Those who run barefoot, however, tend to land on the ball of their foot, which generates almost no collision force at all. Because of this change in strike, people can run barefoot on some of the hardest surfaces and not feel any pain or discomfort while many shoe runners experience constant knee or foot pain.

Not a runner? You can still reap the benefits of barefoot fitness:
- – – – – – -
Standing poses that need to be held for an extended period of time (such as tree and dancer), are a great way to challenge your feet and gain overall health.

The reformer, or trapeze table, works your feet through their full range of motion against resistance. Joseph Pilates, the founder of Pilates exercise, recognized the importance of foot health and even developed two pieces of equipment just for your piggies—the Toe Tensometer and the Foot Corrector.

Targeted exercises
Build balance, strength and control with the following two exercises. No fancy equipment required… just you and a towel.

Sit with your legs out straight and loop a towel around the arches of both feet. Hold the towel in both hands, gently pulling it toward you and stretching the arches of the foot. Provide a little bit of resistance using the towel and slowly, steadily point your toes. Repeat.
2. Lay a towel flat on the floor and place your toes at the edge. Repeatedly scrunch your toes, pulling the towel towards you, until you reach the end of the towel. Smooth it back out and repeat.



When some people hear the word Pilates, they think it is a gentle exercise and only practised by women. I think this may be true if you are practising the more basic mat Pilates exercises but there are also intermediate and advanced exercises too. However too often, people may not have practised far/long enough to have reached that stage. I think a lot of people just give up when learning becomes difficult, especially when Pilates demands them to be really precise and exercise at a level that is much higher than what they usually do. I personally choose to look at Higher level leading to greater results, and this comes with concentration, focus and determination.

Pilates can be really challenging

We are starting to see some Pilates videos that are more challenging than when I first started posting videos of the Pilates Mat repertoire. I used to be hesitant in introducing challenging pieces to Pilates beginners. I know for sure that a lot of people jump to practising the more challenging ones first and this can have adverse effect on learning if one just gives up easily. Challenging exercises should not be impossible to do and can be done with grace. This is when you are adequately prepared for that. I believe a lot of you have been practising the Pilates video that I posted each week and are in a progressive learning mode so I have confidence these challenging videos will help you.

but Pilates can help you improve exponentially!

I think a common difficulty that most people face when first learning Pilates is having to be aware of so many things at one time. And given that precision is so important, you can find the going really tough at the beginning. But once you get past that stage, improvements are usually exponential. They can be so great that you feel like you should have started when you were a child. When I first started Pilates Mat, I lost 2.5 inches around my waist and 8kg in 6 months. I was of normal body weight so I considered that result amazing.

Read, Watch and Practise Pilates and you would have a new body

I strongly believe if you were to read some Pilates articles or Pilates book, you will have a better understanding of why you do it. Watching Pilates videos gives you a sense of familiarity and gives you a strong visual image of it when you actually do it. Practising Pilates with all the understanding and familiarity allows you to have a really good Pilates work out and enables you to do all the pieces better and with more confidence. On first look, the JackKnife is difficult and looks impossible to do. However if you have been reading this blog and watching the videos, you would be on the right track to doing it well. Just take note that if you have any back or neck issues, you may not want to attempt this piece as it can be demanding on your body.

Enjoy this Pilates video and comment on your experiences here!


Pilates Videos – Real Boon to the Exercisers

When I first started Pilates, I never thought of watching Pilates videos. I did not think that anything can be better than practising the various Pilates mat exercises in Pilates studios. When I started teaching, I recognised that multi-tasking is a challenge to new students. Imagine having to concentrate on the neck alignment, breathing, engaging abdominals, pointing the feet and lengthening the body all at the same time. It can be a lot for newbies! Concentrating on too many things can have an adverse effect on the interest of new students and they may just switch off or give up just because it is too difficult. And I found it an ideal time to touch on the topic of Pilates videos when I chanced upon an article that discussed about it.

You can replay Pilates Videos many times

The biggest benefit to watching Pilates videos is that you can repeat/replay many times. This means you can watch something that you missed earlier, unlike in a class where you cannot revise what you missed. And when you watch something many times, you start to have familiarity in a shorter time frame and this accelerates learning. The other thing is I strongly believe that at different point in time, everyone is at a different stage of learning. Today I may watch something as a Pilates beginners and the Pilates videos that I watch can have one meaning to me. At another time/stage (intermediate stage), the same Pilates videos will hold a different meaning to me. What may be hard to comprehend in the past could be easy to understand in the present and could even be more complex in the future. Hence I feel Pilates videos can have this special effect on learning.

What type of Pilates Videos should I watch?

To a Pilates beginner, I would strongly recommend you to watch Pilates videos that teaches you each individual exercise first. This is so that you can focus on the intention and things to look out for each piece. This focus will enable you to learn all the individual Pilates exercises first. Next it would be a good time to progress to videos that gives you a chance to have a Pilates work out. You can then benefit from continuous movement, which I always strongly believe in. The flow in a Pilates class gives you a full body workout that improves your spinal health. Hence I have been posting individual videos of Mat Pilates so that everyone coming to this website can have a chance to go through this learning process. Some people may not have had the chance to do that before so this is definitely a great opportunity. Although I said it is great for Pilates beginners to start this way, I would still strongly encourage you to watch these videos even if you have been doing Pilates for a long time.

What next after Pilates Videos?

After watching many Pilates videos and Pilates work out videos, it would be great to attend Pilates classes in a Pilates studio where you could get much more teaching cues that can take your learning to the next level. Different people have different learning styles and I feel that a mixture of Pilates at home and at a Pilates class would bring a balance to the visual, audio and kinestatic learning of a person. Meanwhile enjoy the article that I chanced upon below!



Pilates is the new fitness mantra. It is a system of over 500 controlled exercises, which engage the mind and condition the total body. It has challenging moves followed with controlled breathing that strengthens every muscle of the body. It is gaining popularity and is a nice change from frenzy of cardio and strength training.

AS the craze for Pilates exercise is spreading, Pilates videos are becoming more and more popular. They have proven remarkably successful in spreading the word about Pilates and winning new crowds and fans. Although it is a known fact that Pilates is most effective when done in studio or class with a certified instructor, but going there is expensive and time consuming which all cannot afford. Pilates videos allow both the new and the experienced to work on their routines at home at their own time. Videos help the exercisers to get the visual direction while completing their exercises.

If you want to start on a fitness journey Pilates video offers a relatively inexpensive and low risk way to get started. There are literally dozens of Pilates videos on the market, most of which introduce Pilates and help motivate you to keep up with your exercises. Prices generally range from $ 10 to $ 25 USD. You just need to ask yourself are the videos for you? Not everyone likes them but they do offer some advantages over health clubs and outdoor activities.

The Merits of Pilates videos:

1.You have choice to select: There are many varieties of excellent videos on the market. There is something for everyone to suit his or her style and fitness level. All types mat exercises, circle, ball, power step workouts, yoga, they are all available on video.

2.Privacy: Many overweight or rehabilitated individuals feel shy or self-conscious at a gym. They can be themselves and just sweat out at home by no one to comment on you.

3.Inexpensive: Many budgets cannot handle expensive, health clubs, studios, gyms and spas. Many do not want to spend hundred of dollars per year on buying high quality equipment, step bench, shoes, dumbells. Compared to that you can get excellent collection of varied Pilates videos for the fraction of the cost.

As can been seen from above Pilates workout video offers many advantages overall to keep in you great shape.

Cynthia Olga writes about boys hoodies and striped hoodie

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Hence I urge all of you to start watching my Pilates videos because I believe your journey would be an enriching one.


Mat Pilates – Corkscrew

The Corkscrew is a Mat Pilates exercise is a piece where I have always been fond of. Unfortunately I do not teach the full version very often, at least not on a daily affair. I personally feel one has to comfortable with the Roll Over before he/she is ready to do the full version. Otherwise the modified version does serve the purpose of this piece pretty well.

Doing Mat Pilates well is never easy

Mat Pilates is probably the most popular amongst the different equipments/non- equipment Pilates. It may be easy to copy the exercise but doing it well is never a piece of cake. When I first taught this many years ago, the most common approach by students is to throw their body overhead using the help of their hands and bodyweight and then ‘hope for the best’. This can be dangerous for Pilates beginners, which is why it took me a couple of months before introducing this on this website. If you have a back problem/issue, please seek help/assistance before even deciding to attempt it. I would assume you have practised the Roll up and Roll Over for a period of time before attempting this.

Mat Pilates Sequence

I have students who ever asked me: “Do I have to do the Mat Pilates sequence as introduced by Joseph Pilates?” or “Can I mix it up?” YES of course. I have also posted the Mat Pilates videos in a sequence that differs. I think the most important consideration when you practise Pilates at home is: “What is my intention/goal?” If you are someone with a healthy body, free from any sort of problems or issues, you may want to follow the sequence strictly if you want a good workout. However if you have difficulty with that, consider being progressive. Just like I mentioned earlier how Master Teacher Ron Fletcher emphasized strongly on our ABCs, learning in a way that supports progression is just that.

Progression in Mat Pilates

An example would be I start with Spine Stretch, then Roll Up and Saw, Roll Over and finally Corkscrew. This can be a good path to take and ensures you practise a more complex piece in simple parts before the combine the various parts to it. Just remember, not too long ago, we observe how others walk, then we learn how to walk ourselves before we learnt how to run. When you approach Mat Pilates in this manner you enjoy the journey of a free body!

Enjoy this Mat Pilates video and share your comments!


The Top Selling Pilates Books

When I see the word “Pilates Books“, I think about my students. I’m not saying they are like bookworms, but I think about how eager they are for information and improvement. I am thankful that my students are keen to learn because this is infectious. When one student starts to ask a question, another one starts to ask as well, knowing that they are welcomed to! I used to think that it is sufficient for my students to practise their Pilates in class twice or thrice a week and really encourage them to. However it can come to a point where it becomes too much. This is a problem that I commonly see in a gym. In my opinion, Gym-goers have a higher tendency to think the MORE classes the better, the tougher the workout the better, the MORE they perspire the better, to the point that a lot work to fatigue. I think it becomes a problem over time when they do not have strong foundations and when this becomes the mindset. I want my Pilates students to be better than that and so…

My solution is Pilates Books

With an exercise repertoire or movement based activity, learning always involves our physical body. I was thinking “Why can’t we have more breadth and in turn depth in our learning?” Hence I thought about how Pilates Books can do the trick. I think Pilates beginners will benefit greatly from books as it introduces them to the concept of Pilates and how one needs to emphasize a lot on form. Yet I believe for Pilates students who are more advanced, it is even more crucial to help them progress and bring greater results. When we move, we normally are so busy multi-tasking that we tend to forget/neglect what the piece is trying to achieve. Hence reading about it at another time, in the comfort of one’s own home can give my students a chance to reinforce the learning that they had in the Pilates class.

Which Pilates Books should I read?

With so many Pilates books around by so many authors, which is THE ONE. Hence I thought it might be useful to include the article that I came across. Here is the opinion of someone whom I sincerely think knows what he/she is talking about. I for one would not recommend something I think is bad. However do note that this is only 1 opinion and this opinion does not represent what the Pilates community thinks.

Different Pilates Books apply to different stages of learning

I strongly believe most Pilates books are good. It depends on where you are in terms of learning. At different point of time, different things stands out more and makes more sense to us. When I first started out, I believed focusing on the core was the most important hence at that point of time, that would have stood out for me. At another later stage, I thought breathing was the most important. Focusing on that and breathing right automatically engages the core and so breathing books would have appealed more. Then much later, I think the mind is the most important because it is what sets the intention of our exercise and activity and after all the mind enables us to focus on the breathing. Hence my belief that as long as we read to reinforce our learning, many Pilates books can be good and really useful to you!

I personally endorse reading for better learning so please CLICK HERE to see what type of books can bring your Pilates learning to greater heights! Enjoy the article below.


One of the most popular books about Pilates is The Pilates Body: The Ultimate At-Home Guide to Strengthening, Lengthening and Toning Your Body–Without Machines, written by Brooke Siler and presented in a way that makes it easy to access and very informative. The author has credentials from training with the oldest protégé of Joseph Pilates himself, and creates a wonderfully organized book that helps offer tips and ways to build the perfect Pilates regimen for you. First, Siler discusses the ways to align your body and the ways to properly move your knees and neck and lower back and once she offers you some basics, she offers an array of over sixty wonderful exercises that can help you get started immediately.

Conveniently, the exercises are divided among beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels, so no matter where you fall, you will have a section that is perfect for you and offers you different exercises that will be neither too hard nor too easy. In addition to offering you inspiring new exercises, she also includes a side blurb called the Inside Scoop which gives you even more information, little hints and tips that she had picked up from trainers and fellow Pilates peers that will perfect your skill and give you an extra boost of motivation. This book is essential for anyone striving to have an excellent Pilates experience.

Another popular book about the subject is Pilates: Body in Motion by Alycea Ungaro. An author who owns Real Pilates and has written many other books on the topic, the author has experience with training many celebrities in this very field. Madonna, Uma Thurman, and Christy Turlington have all gotten their tips and skills from this author, who also presents her work at fitness seminars and is part of the board of advisors for Fitness Magazine. Knowing her business, she offers a book that gives you a very nice and clear step by step guide book that is great for someone who is wanting to work out without messy and heavy equipment or machinery. She also emphasizes how Pilates not only positively affects your entire body, but your whole mind, as well, giving you step by step work out exercises that are divided between beginner and advanced.

Pilates’ Return to Life Through Contrology, written by Joseph H. Pilates himself is another very popular book that gives you the basic origins of the entire exercise. Joseph Pilates details all of the instructions and poses and exercises so you know exactly what you are doing and what the point of it is. All of the exercises that he and Clara developed are there in the book and you will get an elaborated expression of the balanced Body and Mind that he emphasizes. Also, you will learn all about body mechanics and the correct posture so you can be sure that you are doing the exercises properly and without flaws or errors. You will be able to make sure that you are doing the right breathing exercises and procedures all in the name of balancing body and mind and bettering your overall fitness.

Roberto Sedycias works as an IT consultant for PoloMercantil

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Pilates for Beginners – Roll Over

The next Pilates Mat exercise that I am excited to introduce to you is the Roll Over. If you look at the classical Pilates mat sequence, you would realise that this is the 3rd exercise in the repertoire. However I have taken some time to introduce other exercises in the Pilates mat sequence first before introducing this piece. This is not an easy piece if you do not have a flexible or articulate spine. In fact most people find this difficult for the first time, especially if you learn Pilates online without any guidance. I would encourage you to practise pieces such as the Roll Up, Spine Stretch, Rolling like a ball, Seal, Open Leg Rocker, Pelvic Press and Neck Pull first before practising this.

Pilates for Beginners does not mean you only practise easy Pilates Mat exercises

I think in any learning journey, in this case Pilates Mat, it is important to attempt more difficult exercises at some stage. It is when we practise more difficult exercises that we realise how important it is to have strong fundamentals. I noticed many people finding Pilates Mat exercises either too easy or too difficult and seldom in between. I suppose one reason could be lack of focus on fundamentals when starting out. Then again learning is a process and many people will start to refocus on their basics once they realise that is important to do the more advanced pieces well.

Learn your ABCs well when doing Pilates Mat

ABCs is something Pilates Elder, Master Teacher Ron Fletcher, always emphasized on us learning when I attended his workshops. This applies whether we are practising simple or difficult pieces. His insistence on us focusing on ABCs in any Pilates exercises is to help us get the most out of every exercise we do. This is the only way we can learn Pilates. Pilates is not just an exercise. It is a concept of movement to help us live our lives better and the more we focus our fundamentals/ABCs, the more we get out of our movement, the better we move and with grace.

Pilates Mat is really fantastic

Most people love the idea of convenience and that is why Pilates Mat is the most popular of all the different equipments in the Pilates repertoire. The Pilates repertoire includes other equipments like Reformer, Cadillac, Wunda Chair, Magic Circle, Spine Corrector, High Barrel, Barre, and the signature Towelwork and Floorwork invented by Ron Fletcher. Since the Pilates Mat is most accessible, I urge you to keep watching the videos I post here and practising it!

I believe these Pilates videos are very helpful to you when you learn Pilates online. I would love to hear your feedback on this Pilates mat video, so please comment below to share your opinion and experiences.


Pilates Store

Hi everyone, our Pilates Store has been set up! There are many Pilates books, equipments, mats and apparels which are items that supports you in your path of learning Pilates. I am particularly excited about the Pilates books because I believe they can reinforce your learning and help you to do your Pilates better!

Click on “Store” now!