Pilates: Does the Mind Build the Body?

March 20, 2023

So you’re curious about Pilates but don’t know where to start? What is Pilates and where did it come from? Pilates was developed by Joseph Pilates, who explored many eastern wellness practices including meditation and tai chi. He realized the power of having a calm mind as well as how conditioning the body contributes to overall health.

Mat and reformer Pilates are two forms of Pilates that offer a variety of benefits that can improve your body posture, strength, and flexibility. However, there are some key differences between these two workouts. So which is best for you?

Mat Pilates

Mat Pilates is a form of exercise that improves core strength, flexibility, balance, and muscle tone. It also boosts mental health and can help with weight loss.

Many Pilates instructors recommend taking a mat class before trying out a reformer workout. This is because mat classes are more accessible and can ease beginners into the exercise. Reformer exercises are done on a machine that uses springs and resistance gears to add extra support. This allows people with limited range of motion or injuries to perform modified exercises safely.

Mat Pilates is a great way to build up core strength and get accustom to moving your body from the center of your core, as Joseph Pilates called it. Both, Columbia Athletic Club and Supreme Sports Club offer Mat Pilates. Once you have mastered the basics, it will translate into all of your daily activities.

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Floor Pilates

Pilates is a mind-body exercise that promotes balance, flexibility, strength and is great for your mental health as well. It involves low-impact movements performed on a mat or on a machine called a reformer.

Unlike most other forms of exercise, Pilates requires concentration and focus. It teaches you to initiate movement from your core, the center of your body.

In a class or private session, you will work on your body’s “powerhouse” and tone all of the major muscles. You will also learn proper breathing techniques, improve your posture and reduce stress.

Reformer Pilates

Mat Pilates and Reformer Pilates both focus on slow, controlled movements to strengthen and tone muscles. The equipment and movements in reformer classes are more dynamic and offer greater variety than mat exercises.

The reformer is a special Pilates machine that uses a spring-based resistance system that offers different levels of tension for more challenging workouts. It consists of a sliding carriage, a platform at either hand, handlebars on the platforms, straps to allow moves such as biceps curls and springs, which make the resistance lighter or heavier. Springs are color-coded to indicate the difficulty level of a movement, so it’s important to check with your instructor before attempting something that might be too difficult for you.

Reformers are adjustable for every body and can help people who have limited mobility or injuries, allowing them to strengthen their muscles, improve balance and coordination, and build strength. Reformers are often used with other pieces of Pilates equipment for a total-body experience, such as jump boards and poles.


A regular reformer Pilates practice can improve strength, flexibility, and balance. An article posted by the National Institute of Health states that Pilates can improve your posture, reduce the risk of injury and help with overall mental health.

Columbia Association in Columbia MD has Pilates Classes

If you’re looking for a low-impact workout that will strengthen your core and improve your posture, Pilates is the way to go. It’s also a great way to get a full-body workout in a fun and stress-relieving environment.

There are a variety of Pilates classes and instructors at the Columbia Association in Columbia MD that are both accessible to CA members and non-members. These group fitness classes are a great way to stay fit, make friends, and have fun!

If you’re interested in trying Reformer Pilates, there are several classes for CA members and non-members. These introductory classes will help you familiarize yourself with the machine and learn some of the basic exercises. They are also a good choice for beginners who aren’t sure if Pilates is right for them. To keep yourself safe, you’ll want to wear a form-fitting outfit and bring gripping socks. Columbia Association offers a variety of instructor-led classes which are held in the fully-equipped studio at the Columbia Gym. Be sure to check our Mind and Body fitness schedule to find all of the locations that have Pilates classes. Our friendly and knowledgeable instructors are here to safely and patiently guide you through your new Pilates experience. See you soon!