As you might know, I have a real loving relationship with Yoga – it’s so good for relaxing, de-stressing, focusing on your inner self, flexibility and stability – yeah, all of that! But when I’ve spoken to friends and family about being a ‘yogi in the making’ many have rated Pilates a lot higher in their opinions, and so I’ve wanted to try it out for a while now. It even featured on my 100 dreams.
Recently I got the opportunity to go along to one of the Body Control Pilates classes near Oxford Street. A great central location for a fitness session after work, and I was really intrigued as to whether I could be persuaded to convert…
A bit about the history of pilates and Body Control:
Pilates originated in Germany in the 1800s, and today is taught in several forms, all drawn from the origin and founders ways, Joseph Pilates. The approach to Pilates is very flexible.
Body Control Pilates offers class exercises based around both mat work and machine work, all developed from traditional techniques created by Joseph Pilates. They believe everyone is different and put emphasis on building a good grounding for people to progress towards the classical, more advanced work.
A central part to the Body Control Pilates method is ‘awareness of your own body’ so in this respect, it is very similar to yoga. Each exercise is based around 8 basic principles:
- Flowing movements
Body Control Pilates is great for back problems and is said to teach you to be in control of your body, allowing you to handle stress more effectively and achieve relaxation more easily – Just what I need!
I chose to try out an intermediate core Pilates class, as I already do yoga. The studio was easy to find, just pop it into google maps, and the receptionist was super helpful – directing me to where I should go as I’d never been before. I changed into my gym kit in the ladies changing rooms, which were really nice and not too small, before waiting in reception area for my class to start. The room at the end of class – It’s quite a cute, small studio. All groups are nice and intimate with only about 8 people.
Heading into the room, the Pilates coach told us to choose a mat from those laid out around the studio, and make sure we had a head cushion and small ball. She introduced herself as Sophia, and she took a register before briefly telling us what we’d be working on during the session. Sophia was lovely, very friendly and chatty, funny and someone you could relate to, she made a great instructor, who added a light-hearted touch to the practice. We then got to it, undergoing the exercises which Sophia would show us first, working our whole bodies with a focus on the core. Exercises varied from scissor style legs and planks to using the ball to make your form unstable and doing bridges (hip raises), but the key form/technique was slightly different to yoga.
Breathing was in through the nose and out through the mouth, which did take some getting used to after doing yoga breathing (in and out through the nose), and there was also more emphasis on being careful with the back, and rolling your spine to create space rather than folding. I asked Sophia if she thought I would be converted and she said that she thinks Pilates and yoga actually go well hand in hand…interesting!The class, although an hour in length, went pretty quickly but I loved every minute. Although there wasn’t as much on the meditation side of things, it was still good at helping me to shut off after work and relax. I felt like I had a great all over body workout to help tone, and really liked the exercises – I definitely think having such a fab instructor helped, as a lot of the time a good class is all about the way it’s delivered.
I really want to go back – prices are already in for the next term. Check out the website here.
Have you done Pilates yet? What do you think?
*I was offered a spot on one of the Body Control Pilates Classes. This is not a sponsored post – all views my own.