Subject: Book Review
Reviewed by: Sunni Almond
Title-Pilates An Interactive Workbook
Author-Christina Maria Gadar, who was certified by Romana Kryzanowska in 2000 in New York, she has studied with everyone amazing, too numerous to mention here, but you’ve heard all the names of her elite and illustrious teachers. A dual citizen of Brazil and the US, she has had a brilliant professional ballet career since the age of 15 when was introduced to the Pilates mat-work while she was a student at the Boston Ballet. Now she teaches at her studio and is a devoted mom and wife.
First published- 2013; Edition-1st; Year- 2013; Format-paperback; Pages-291; Availability-Amazon and www.pilatespersonaltraining.com
The book came about as a way to help her students continue their Pilates practice for the 5 months or so they go out of town each year. Many of her students have 2nd homes in places where there aren’t Pilates studios nearby. Even her students who live close to the studio expressed the desire for a guide for their home-based workouts. Maria’s hope is that the book will help motivated Pilates students maintain consistency in their home -based workouts and help them progress their practice in the studio…this was taken pretty verbatim from her acknowledgements page.
This book is the one I wish I’d had all those years ago when I started doing Pilates. It is more than a mat work manual, starting with a page dedicated to describing how to use the workbook, she is very clear on the instructions, so you aren’t left flipping back and forth too much. The mat work as well as the Basic and Intermediate Reformer are included as they are the “heart and soul of the Pilates Method”. Maria clearly describes everything from the set up and breath and rhythm of each exercise to the transitions into the next exercise, when to leave something out, when to add it in…There are step by step photos and no guess work is left to the reader.
The Principles and The Terms are two pages of info that set the student up with an understanding of everything the workbook has to offer, so that you’re left with all you need to move forward and learn and practice.
The mat work moves are broken down into the usual series of Basic and Intermediate sections, each section starts with the list of the included classical order, followed by pictures and clear instructions depicting every part of the move and the transition to the next move. The brilliant part is giant spaces on the page for your own notes. this is a workbook! The apparatus shown is all Gratz, so the mat work is shown with the use of the strap and handles.
Following the Intermediate mat work section, is matwork again with the addition of the magic circle. Photo reminder of the order, then a page of clear description about incorporating the magic circle into the mat work. The how’s and why’s are gone over so you ‘get’ what’s important about adding the prop.
The next section is The Standing Weights Series. The pics are descriptive in their own right and she details with text clearly what the alignment and moves are, and what weights to use.
Then there is The Magic Circle section which is different from just including the MC into the mat repertoire. These are the specific Magic Circle exercises, yes some are on the mat, and some are standing, but they aren’t the mat or the standing weights series.
The Wall Series is next with her usual photo’s and descriptions and places for your notes, (write in pencil, your notes will change over time). As with the MC Series, there are weights included but these are DIFFERENT exercises than the Standing Weights Series.
Photo details of the Basic and Intermediate Reformer follow, along with a Reformer Parts Detail page, and exactly how to approach the apparatus etc…The setup, exercise explanation and transitions are clearly photo’d and explained in easy to understand terms. This book reads as if you had a teacher talking to you, it’s clear, concise, not wordy or self serving in any way. It isn’t about the author, it is about you. You write it with your notes, she has presented a guide to get you where you’re going and keep you honest in your work.
To buy or to borrow
Buy it!! Give it as gifts to your clients, I love it and it sometimes helps me to explain to clients when I can’t find the words that would help them ‘get’ something that I’ve tried to express in every way I can think of.