Pilates is a big part of my life – it is the way I earn my living, but also a big part of helping me feel Creative, Calm and Connected. It really is a passion of mine and I am lucky to be able to do what I love for work.

So What is Pilates?

This is a tricky question to answer succinctly. Pilates is evolving and there is often spirited discourse within the Pilates community about what Pilates is.

Here is my humble attempt at putting my understanding into words.

Pilates was developed by Joseph Hubertus Pilates (1883-1967) in the early decades of the 1900’s. Mr Pilates developed a system of movement that was designed to otpimise the balance of the body and mind, and he called it Contrology.

Both the body and mind must be coordinated, in order not only to accomplish the maximum results with the minimum expenditure of mental and physical energy, but also to live as long as possible in normal health and enjoy the benefits of a useful and happy life

J H PIlates, Your Health, 1934

Mr Pilates published two books, outlining his approach:

  • Your Health, published in 1934 – Your Health is a summary of what Pilates considered the problem with current world order, and his arguments for his new ‘science’ – Contrology, as an antidote to the ills that upset the balance of body and mind.
  • Return to Life Through Contrology, published in 1945, explains the 34 exercises of the original matwork.
Image of Return to Life Through Contrology, a book published in 1945 bu J H PIlates, outlining his ideas on how to balance the mind and body.
Return To Life Through Contrology, Published in 1945

In my own words, I understand Pilates to be a mind/body system of movement that aims to achieve balance in the body. Balance between strong and weak, as well as between strength and flexibility.

There is lots of talk of the core when people think of Pilates. But why? What are we aiming to achieve by developing core strength? (and as an aside, Pilates isn’t just about the core – its whole body!) Pilates himself gives us the answer:

“If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old; it it is completely flexible at 60, you are young”

(Pilates, Return to Life Through Contrology, p16).

It makes sense right? You know yourself how having a stiff, sore back can make you feel much older than you should? That’s why in Pilates we work on developing strength and flexibility in the body so the spine is free and supported to move as it should.

Principles of Pilates

There are several guiding principles of Pilates. The original principles include:

  • Concentration
  • Control
  • Centering
  • Precision
  • Flowing movement
  • Breathing

Pilates International Training Centre (where I did my Pilates qualification) also adds another two important principles:

  • Alignment and
  • Commitment

Each are equally important and embody the philosophy of the work, and should be front of mind each time you are doing Pilates.

Different types of Pilates

There are two different types of Pilates – Matwork and Studio Pilates.


Pilates matwork session are taught in small group classes, and are based on the exercises outlined in Return to Life. Matwork sessions are suited to people who are uninjured and are generally healthy. We work on the floor, sometimes using small equipment, to develop core strength and overall flexibility in the body.


Studio Pilates uses equipment like Reformers, Trapeze Tables and Wunda Chairs. This type of Pilates is suited to literally every body. Particularly good if you are injured or have a spinal condition, studio Pilates can be adapted to suit anyone. I have taught a wide variety of clients in the studio, from ballet dancers and football players, to those recovering from stroke or serious injury, the young and those who are young at heart, Mums to be and Mums recovering from pregnancy and childbirth.

Would I be able to do Pilates?

Yes! If you have a body, you can do Pilates. We just need to work out which style of Pilates would suit you best.

Where can you do Pilates with me?

If you are interested in doing Pilates sessions with me (either studio or matwork), you can find me teaching at the beautiful PilatesCan studio at Woden. There are some special deals available for those who are referred by instructors, so make sure you mention that Em sent you when booking in!

You can also find me teaching matwork classes at the fabulous DancEdge in Kambah.

Want more information?

I’m always happy to talk about Pilates! Send me an email at Pilates@creativecalmconnected and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can

I hope to see you at Pilates soon!