This morning I went on the search for a new Pilates video. I usually use Pilates Anytime for mat work at home. But I am playing with the idea of taking on a Mat class at my studio. So I wanted to try something outside of that site. To get a new perspective perhaps. I think it is good to always try different work to find things you like and don’t like, then tie it in to your class.

Now, I do not claim to be a total Pilates expert, yet! I have been doing Mat work since high school. My instructor has told me I do beautiful mat work. I am still learning the reformer, and can be a little clumsy on there, but I really am confident and comfortable with Mat work. This video I found was on Amazon Prime and was 2.99 to rent. There were not many good looking free options, so I rented it. It was labeled as an advanced video. Right up my alley.

I found it a little unsettling. There were a ton of advanced moves, no doubt. Jackknife, rollovers, crab, seal, etc. Great! I love doing all of those. The thing is, they FLEW through each move. Not once did they mention engaging your core, pulling your belly button to your spine, or focusing on form! Not once! They literally just flew through each position and bam, on to the next.

I understand that it was supposed to be an advanced workout, but it can be advanced with those above moves, while you also focus on form, control, core, and breathing. Those FOUR things are only a part of Joseph Pilates’ 9 principles. I was baffled that none of those things were even glossed over. I am not going to share the name of the video because I don’t want to knock someone who probably worked hard to produce it. Also, like I said, I am no total expert. But I do think my instructor has drilled into us the importance of always going back to the 9 principles. Those are why we are here and what we are doing. I think that this video could hurt someone. I also think that you are not actually getting an effective workout if you do not focus on all form, control, core, breathing, flow, etc. You are not. You are either muscling through, or not engaging the correct muscles. You may not even be engaging anything at all, you may just be using momentum. That is a disservice to your student(s). It is easy for a student to forget to breathe while trying to focus on their form. As someone who is running a class, it is your job to teach them and guide them. If you create a video you are in a sense conducting a class. A class that can be viewed over and over and over and over….

I tried to keep my core engaged and work on my form, but when someone is flying through each move at record speed, it is hard to do. In Pilates, the fastest doesn’t win. Just because you can whip up into a Jackknife doesn’t mean you are doing it correctly. It is not a competition. I do not think that moving quickly though each move equals an advanced class either! In fact, I would argue that it is more advanced to slowly go through each move while holding your core properly and having precise and exact form. The more advanced (stronger) you get the more picky you can get with proper alignment, form, and control!

I definitely learned what I do not want to do when I start teaching Mat. I do not want to fly through things and label it as “advanced” I guess the video was good for something! It has been bothering me all day. I have been thinking about it since 8:30 this morning when I was done with the video. I won’t do it again. I also think this video will forever be in the back of my mind when teaching. It will help draw me back to the principles of Pilates.