Reformer pilates may be en vogue, but never underestimate the importance of returning to the foundations of classical pilates if you're looking to get the most out of your practice

Fast track your practice

You may remember the first time you learned to swim. It wasn’t easy at first, but after a few intense sessions in the deep, you became competent, if not pretty good. Maybe it was tennis, golf, or basketball…the same goes for them, and the same goes for Pilates. If you take part in an intensive challenge to learn or boost your Classical practice, you are taught the benefits of a system, developing your abilities, understanding what level you’re at so that you can choose the right class for you to improve.

That’s how you see real change.

It’s like learning a language. You get the foundations and build on that. With an intensive approach, you’re not spending years doing the same thing over and over again and never progressing to the next level. You get results sooner, which makes it so much more enjoyable.

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Above Photo: Courtesy of Flex Studio

Don’t get stuck in a rut

Over time, we can get so used to doing a sequence that we lose focus. One of the best ways to break this cycle is to take on a challenge that’s intensive and done in a set time period. This cements the basics and reminds us where our strengths and weaknesses are so we can evolve.

This is where simple mat Pilates can come in; you may have practised Pilates on a Reformer or Tower for a long time, and if so, how does it feel when you go back to the mat? Many newcomers to mat Pilates are often terrified of the equipment. Then, once they get going on the equipment, poor humble mat class becomes forgotten.

See also: The Rise And Rise Of Classical Pilates

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Above Photo: Courtesy of Flex Studio

Finding strength in fundamentals

There is nothing like the intensive challenge of a mat class to really cement the fundamentals of Classical Pilates into your psyche. It’s just your mat and your body weight, so you have to really listen to the cues and engage constantly since the machinery isn’t there to remind you. Then, you can take that back to the Reformer.

Furthermore, mat classes use props, such as the ring, balance balls and thera-bands. These pack a real punch when it comes to building lean muscle, targeting abs and improving posture.

Mixing it up with some mat work also means you’re shifting focus, which is great for mind-body control; the essence of functional movement.

Classical mat Pilates and equipment Pilates are both effective, but getting back to basics from time to time means we can ensure our bodies move well and in line with Classical Pilates teachings, with or without the springs or the foot straps.

Heather Thomas Shalabi is the co-founder and Director of Flex Studio Hong Kong, with locations in Central and One Island South.

Flex has again launched its popular March Matness offer. You can enjoy 2-for-1 for Pilates Mat class in March. Flex will also launch a #Flexmarchmatness2019 social media campaign. You have a chance to win a Pilates Trio Class and an Assessment.

Book now at and get your best Classical Pilates practice! Find out more at

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