For the Love of Pilates Mat Work by Neal Healey
Say hello to Neil Healey from across the pond. He loves Pilates mat work! Read on and he will gladly tell you why. By the way we agree I love Pilates mat work too!.
How did Neil start his love of Pilates Mat Work?
I had a bulging Lumber disc so my Physiotherapist sent me to Pilates classes. I have enjoyed weight training for many years so I thought that Pilates would be a waste of good training time so I asked her not to send me! I am obviously extremely happy she did not listen to my protest. My instructor was brilliant. In just a few lessons I was in considerably less pain and moving more freely
I formed Neilpilates when I qualified through Michael Kings Pilates Institute (London) on 31 October 2004 and I am now working as a freelance assessor jointly delivering a Level 3 Pilates Instructors course for Fitness Northern Ireland. So far I have handpicked five of the instructors who I have taught on the Level 3 Pilates Instructors course to become Neilpilates Instructors. I have released a Pilates for beginners DVD and have been interviewed on View TV and Radio Ulster as well as providing exercise instruction for a Northern Woman magazine summer special. I have a studio where I mainly teach one to one but I also teach a small equipment and two Antenatal Pilates classes each week. At the moment I teach thirteen mat classes per week in various venues in Belfast.
I just love Pilates mat work!
“Contrology is not a fatiguing system of dull, boring, abhorred exercises repeated daily “ad-nauseam”. Neither does it demand your joining a gymnasium nor the purchasing of expensive apparatus. You may derive all the benefits of Contrology in your own home” Joseph Pilates
The above quote is taken from Joseph Pilates book ‘Return to Life through Contrology’ and, to me, it clearly shows that Mr Pilates was of the opinion that his mat work exercises were rather important. He said that all the benefits of his exercises could be derived from these exercises so how can you do anything other than love mat work when it gives you so much?
Pilates Mat work allows the maximum number of us to have access to the benefits of Pilates for less of a financial outlay. Surely that was Mr Pilates dream was it not?
I teach contemporary Pilates so I have hundreds of modified exercises to choose from which equips me with the tools to give my clients a complete, total body workout in a class environment. To me there is no better ‘payment’ than when a client who has been in chronic pain come to me and tells me they’ve had their first pain free day or week for years! What a buzz! What a feeling when you are given the vindication that what you do really works and really improves peoples quality of life!
Mat work is a beautiful thing that we should cherish and develop. I personally would recommend all contemporary teachers to go and be taught the original exercises by a quality ‘classical’ teacher. The exercises we do, obviously, are largely modified forms of or based on the original exercises and I believe we always need to know and keep sight of our roots. I found that when I attended a Classical Mat work Weekend taken by the Jay Grimes trained Amy Kellow it completely changed how I taught the contemporary exercises to my clients/classes. I was able to make the classes so much stronger and was able to cue connection/engagement to so many more muscles in each exercise. My clients just loved it! Maybe it’s just me but I love it when I see my regular clients walk into their class with a smile on their face and then tell how they felt their last class in all the right places for a couple of days after the class. The mat work gives you everything you need to retune your body to make it an efficient machine that allows you to get on with the important things like, working, playing sport enjoying family time or just round all that up and call it what it is – living your life.
So get out there and enjoy your Pilates mat work classes and reap all of the many benefits they can give you and don’t be afraid to tell your teacher how good it makes you feel, there is nothing that your teacher will appreciate more!
To learn more about Neil and his Pilates classes please visit his website NeilPilates
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