Day 28 – What defines Pilates? Kristi Cooper mini mat class on Pilates Anytime

Day 28 – I have now officially practised Pilates every day for 4 weeks. I have stuck to all my rules, including each session being a minimum of 15 minutes, and the weeks total time being at least 3.5 hours.

It has been a lot easier than I imagined and I have high hopes that I can continue to keep it up for the next 338 days!

It has become such a part of my routine now that I find I am feeling guilty on the days I only do 15-20 minutes and need to keep reminding myself that I don’t have to force myself to do an hour everyday. Consistency was my goal here, not intensity.

Today I did Kristi Cooper’s quick little 14 minute mat blast class via Pilates Anytime and then another 10 minutes of sidelying work on my own at the end. Kristi snuck in some jumping jacks and shuffles with took me by surprise. It was nice to get the heart rate up at the start of the class, but I would have worn more supportive clothing if I’d known.


It also got me thinking about what defines Pilates. How do we decide if any exercise is Pilates or not? There are plenty of exercises that are commonly in a Pilates class but could also be considered just ‘exercise’. When I started Pilates several of the exercises I already knew from the conditioning work we used to do at gymnastics, even though I’d never heard the word Pilates before. More still I learnt at uni while studying Physiotherapy. On the other side of the coin if we through in some squats and lunges, some theraband rotator cuff work, or plyometrics on the jump board, can we say this is still Pilates? For the purpose of my 365 Pilates challenge I have painted a fairly broad brush and will consider pretty much anything that calls itself Pilates, Pilates, as part of my motivation was the experience a wide breadth of Pilates styles. But I think it will be an interesting question to answer in the next decade as contemporary Pilates evolves more and more. It will become even more interesting as more private health insurers start to rebate for Pilates sessions. I touched on some of these issues in my article on types of Pilates. On the whole I think it must come back to the principles of Pilates and whether an exercise form adheres to these. But even the principles of Pilates vary quite a lot from Pilates school to school.

What are your thoughts?


About Laura

I am a practising physiotherapist and Pilates Instructor living in Newcastle, Australia. My interests include chronic pain, Pilates for rehabilitation, gymnastics and the brain/mind body connection. I love shopping, skiing and travelling and hate watermelon.
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