Pilates Mat Class – Breaking Down the Benefits and Values

At Corpo Kinetic we have a new mat class on the schedule – Sundays at 9am! We’re frequently asked what are the primary benefits of a Pilates mat class vs. an equipment class. The most obvious difference is that a Pilates mat class uses just one piece of equipment – your body – to execute movement. In a mat class, you’re not using the springs or the equipment. We do many of the same exercises, with the same names, but the look and feel is so different. When working with the equipment, the body has support and feedback from the spring resistance. Mat work is done with just your body working against gravity.  Not only does this challenge and build your sense of proprioception (where your body is in space), you are also learning exercises you can take with you.  Pilates mat exercises transfer seamlessly to home programs. Mat programs are effective, safe, challenging and fun!

It’s All on YOU – AKA Its Challenging

Let’s be honest. Mat work can be exceptionally challenging! You move without assistance and execute each exercise using your own sense of control and resistance. In most mat classes you’ll spend time in the beginning mastering the breath to movement connection. Why? To initiate movement properly – using the correct muscles – you’ll have a deeper connection when you let the breath lead the way. The breath helps you navigate the movement from a place of control vs. momentum.

Let’s also talk about alignment. Without the feedback provided by the equipment, alignment plays an essential role in a mat class. And why does alignment matter? To work the right muscles, in a safe and effective way, you need to have your body in the right position. We find that even subtle adjustments make the difference between someone saying, “I don’t feel where I’m supposed to move from” to “ah, now I feel it, wow!” Especially in a mat class where it falls all on you to make the movement happen, alignment is key. Over time, you naturally start to feel your sacrum heavy on the mat, the shoulders relaxing, your ribs softening down to your spine, your toes expanding and pressing evenly on the mat. Being in alignment means you move from a place of intention, which means you’re working harder and smarter.

Hello Abs – That Pilates Core Burn

It’s true. A Pilates mat class focuses quite a bit on the core! Many of the exercises are focused on how to engage the core properly, with a deep connection, and the various exercises in a mat class work the entire family of abdominal muscles. It starts with our inner core unit of the pelvic floor, transversus abdominus, multifidus muscles and the diaphragm (remember that breath work?). We also then involve the internal and external obliques, which help us twist and bend, and the rectus abdominis – that good ‘ole six pack muscle. In Pilates, we love ALL the abdominals!

Generally speaking, we like to have you moving in all planes in a class — this is key to happy and healthy spines, as well as targeting how the core fits in to the functional movements you do in real life. This means we’ll spend some time doing exercises lying on our backs, doing things which may look like a traditional “crunch” or “sit up,” but are executed with that Pilates attention to detail and precise engagement. We’ll also do exercises lying on our tummy, working the core to support the spine against gravity. Also in the mix: exercises lying on each side, on our knees and wrists and even standing. The work in all those other positions help us harness gravity in multiple directions, building a strong and dynamic core.

3 P’s – Patience, Practice and Place

Overall, a mat class is a great way to move. But like anything good in life, it takes time to master. It takes time to feel the connection, to feel comfortable with all the breathing, to move from a place of control, to feel centered when moving and to feel confident putting it all together. Patience and practice bring it full circle.

We don’t expect people to master it after the first or second class. We simply want people to walk away with something small. With our clients, we notice a profound difference in how they feel with just a small adjustment in how they’re moving. One class may leave you feeling more connected to your breath, the next might give you a deep connection to your core. One day at a time, you’ll be moving better – and soon feeling better in your body. Mat class is something you want to come back to each week.

Another beautiful aspect of the mat program is that it can go with you. You can do it at home, on vacation, at work, on the go. You don’t need anything but the knowledge of how to move! Mat exercises can be sprinkled in to your day wherever you might be. Add a cat / camel in the middle of your workday, do the series of 5 and the 100s during your lunch break. Spend 15 minutes after work doing a few bridges, toe taps, swimming. You’ll feel lighter and better.

Join Us – Mat Class

Come join us for a mat class to see why this work is a challenging, effective and nourishing addition to your movement journey! Even if you’re familiar with the equipment classes or tried a mat class someplace else we promise to delight you with our love of the mat program. We just added a new mat class on Sundays at 9am – join us!

Mixed-Level Mat Class Schedule

Sundays 9am

Wednesdays 8:30am

Online scheduling