Working with Pilates apparatus
One of the marks of the classical Pilates method is the use of the equipment (traditionally called ‘apparatus’) that Joseph Pilates designed. He first developed mat work and then later apparatus to supplement it. Mat work can be difficult to do correctly and so you use apparatus to increase the strength, flexibility and control of your body.
If you need additional help, the springs act as extra 'muscles' enabling your body to absorb the Pilates way of using the body (‘the method’) more quickly. Then you can return to the mat and are able to do it more deeply.
Why work with Pilates equipment?
The apparatus gives shape to the body, as well as supporting and strengthening the work of the power house, which helps you progress faster. Only apparatus built according to the original designs of Joseph Pilates will do exactly what he intended, because he designed both the exercises and the apparatus to work together.
Modified machines may still be used for physiotherapy, but whenever a major change is made to the apparatus some element of the original system is lost. Bear in mind that many alterations to equipment make it impossible to properly do the exercises Joseph Pilates invented.
How to work with Pilates equipment
Of course, the apparatus does not increase the strength, flexibility and control of the body for you. It helps you by encouraging correct body position and use of the power house through the resistance of the springs.
The apparatus gives shape and structure to the body as it moves, supporting correct alignment and helping develop particular muscle groups and patterns of movement. Unless these things are taught with precision, nothing is gained from using apparatus, so always choose a studio with highly trained instructors (and genuine equipment of course!).