The first Pilates exercises I was ever acquainted with were the exercises developed for the mat by Joseph Humbertus Pilates. I learned some exercises at the Y. I did some in my dance classes. I bought Brooke Siler’s beautiful book. Frankly, I had no idea what it was I was doing. It just felt great. When folks are doing Pilates, according to Mr. Joe Pilates, you are doing the system of Contrology that he developed. So naturally, I started teaching it. At the beginning, I mixed my mat Pilates with my yoga. Later I went on to get full comprehensive training (mat and equipment), and still later, studied under Lolita San Miguel to become a master instructor.
Contrology is a complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit. Through Contrology you first purposefully acquire complete control of your own body and then through proper repetition of its exercises you gradually and progressively acquire that natural rhythm and coordination associated with all your subconscious activities.” -Pilates
I love that Pilates included a notion of spirit as part of health, and when I first began teaching the mat exercises, it seemed that core strengthening might give an advantage to us spiritual yogis who needed a little extra low back strength for our asanas and meditation.
Contrology develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind, and elevates the spirit… Contrology is designed to give you suppleness, natural grace, and skill that will be unmistakably reflected in the way you walk, in the way you play, and in the way you work. You will develop muscular power with corresponding endurance, ability to perform arduous duties, to play strenuous games, to walk, run or travel for long distances without undue body fatigue or mental strain.And this by no means is the end.”
-Excerpts from Return to Life Through Contrology by Joseph Humbertus Pilates
When folks come in for a consultation, I will generally start them with an overview of what it feels like to be on the equipment. Very rarely, I have people who request mat or mat only. Sometimes, I have clients who it wouldn’t be safe to use the equipment with. Other folks have done mat Pilates at the gym or with a video. Most people want the equipment. It is jazzy. It is fun But mat is where it all begins and mat is what Pilates wrote his book about. It can be done at home using the book he wrote as an instruction manual.
Truthfully, the Pilates method is not meant to be one or the other. Joe Pilates meant for us to do both as we could. Mat and equipment are part of the same regimen. Pilates invented the Wunda Chair for home use too. It is a smaller piece of equipment that could fit into a small New York apartment where he was working and living the last 40 years or so of his life.
Mat classes at Jules Pilates are meant for everyone, all levels of Pilates experience. If you’re needing more Pilates in your life, they are are good way to incorporate it. You can use your new mat skills to bump your Pilates game or your athletic ability up a notch. If you have never done Pilates, start with a consultation or the Basic Mat offered once a month, not a regular group class. If you’ve been doing Pilates, come and join us for a little fun and games on the floor!
Mat Class Schedule at Jules Pilates (Summer 2018)
- Tuesdays – 5:30 pm
- Wednesdays – 7 am
- Thursdays – 8 am
- Fridays – 7 am
- First Sunday (usually) of the month, Basic Mat is offered at an introductory class which teaches the lingo and gets you started understanding and practicing the underlying concepts of Pilates.
Check our schedule for current times and dates.