Pilates mat work is designed to be practiced at home; that was Joseph Pilates' intention. However, what makes Pilates special is its precision, so some people worry about practicing on their own in case they somehow get it wrong.
When shouldn't you do Pilates at home?
If you only ever learn from a book or DVD then there is a real danger that you simply go through the motions, perhaps not even correctly. We hate to say it, but this isn’t particularly useful. The movements are the shell that you put the Pilates inside; just done on their own they won´t change your body.
The other risk is that you won´t work as hard as you will in class, although putting 75 per cent effort into an exercise is better than none at all.
When should you do Pilates at home?
One of the benefits of doing Pilates at home is that you will progress faster and get stronger.
More importantly, your own practice gives you a degree of independence, providing a regime you can use long term to keep your body in shape. Of course continuing to go to a teacher is important in order to progress and avoid developing bad habits, but you may not always have access to one. By practicing at home, even if only for 15 minutes twice a week, you will absorb the exercises more deeply.
Basic Pilates mat for beginners Here is a video from Pilates Onuk, our colleagues in Ankara Turkey doing the basic mat exercises (It is in Turkish but they promise to add english subtitles - but the movements are clear). They show different versions of the exercise: chose the one that you normally do.
If you do our basic mat classes the exercises will be familiar and the video should remind you of the order. There a few minor differences to how we do this at Kinetic, but nothing important.
Try to remember the corrections you normally get (do you need to drop your shoulders down from next to your ears or keep the weight even in your hips?)
Make mistakes, forget things, but have a go and next time you come to class you will have specific gaps you want to fill. You´ll find you learn faster, which can only be a positive thing.