Pie-lates or Pe-lah-teas?

How do you spell it and how do you say it? Regardless, I love it.

It’s an addiction, in the best possible sense. The endorphin release, the flow, the peace.

Whenever anyone asks me ‘what is Pilates?’ I find it tricky to explain.

Some might say: ‘there’s some weird equipment, a reformer, a Cadillac, a Wunda chair. There’s a lot of focus on breathing, and my god, the ‘ab’ work!’

I would say: ‘there’s a deep focus on health, wellbeing and self-mastery. It’s an opportunity to pause, reflect and reconnect with your mind, while looking after your body.’

Or something like that!

So, what really happens during a session in a fully equipped Pilates studio? How is it that within 10 minutes you feel calm, centred, and ensconced in the experience?

Is it the teacher, the people, the setting? Or is it something else?

Let’s use ‘The Hundred’ as an example – a Pilates classic where you lie on your back on a mat and pulse 100 times in an abdominal loaded position.

Most of us have a love/hate relationship with ‘The Hundred’.

You’re on your back curled up small, preparing. Next, your arms reach by your sides, your legs extend, your back is hugging the mat. Ready, set, go! You’re pulsing the arms, sensing the weight and tempo of the breath, in for 5, out for 5.

‘The Hundred’ requires your total undivided attention. You can’t be anywhere else. Once you recognise this, ‘The Hundred’ and every Pilates exercise across the unique Joseph Pilates apparatus, will transport you to another place with complete mind-body coordination, leaving you feeling physically more powerful and mentally stronger.

This is what real Pilates is all about. It’s not just pumping weight and toning muscle on a reformer. It’s an all-encompassing health and wellbeing method, designed to be carried out across the full suite of equipment, in a fully-equipped studio, with expert, professional instructors.

Don’t settle for a hybrid version, head to a fully-equipped Pilates studio for the real deal.

If you’re willing to immerse yourself in it, the Pilates method will unashamedly transform your life.