I really liked the book. It got me excited about trying some of the exercises in it. I wasn't really that familiar with Pilates, so the book was quite an eye-opener for me. It's loaded with tons of advice on all things Pilates related. It goes over the history and evolution of Pilates, the benefits of Pilates and what to do before you being and many, many more topics.
The book is divided into Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced Levels. Each one of these has routines for varying workout times: for 15, 30 and 45 minutes. I love this. When I have more time I can do longer workouts. As I progress, I have new exercises to try. Even if I decide to take a class later on, I can use the book as a reference guide at home. I loved that the book showed me ways to measure my baseline for different aspects of Pilates. That way I can measure my progress as time goes by.
Because I'm a visual learner, I liked that each of the exercises was documented with lots of photographs and instructions. A series of photos show the positions, repetitions and tempo. Some of the exercises even have small insets showing what people normally do wrong. That should be really helpful.
It looks like Pilates relies on exact body alignment when doing the exercises. This will be pretty hard to verify alone at home. I can see how an instructor might be helpful in this respect. Having said that, this book might not replace a qualified instructor, but for the most part, it's sort of like taking a class in a studio without the expense. I like to think of it as a kind of "try before you buy" thing.
I really enjoyed the last section of the book on how to use Pilates in your everyday life. I hadn't really thought about how an exercise could be carried over and used after a workout session, but this section explained how this was possible.
The book contains numerous quotes by the inventor of Pilates. Here are some of my favourite quotes:
In 10 session you will feel the difference. In 20 session you will see the difference. And in 30 sessions you will have a brand new body. (page 8)
If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old. If it is completely flexible at 60, you are young. (page 26)
A few well-designed movements, properly performed in a balanced sequence, are worth hours of doing sloppy calisthenics or forced contortion. (page 28)
The mind, when housed within a healthful body, possesses a glorious sense of power. (page 43)Both the table of contents and index are adequate for this type of book.
Highly recommended. I can't wait to get started.
For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit DK's website.
I'd like to thank those nice people at DK Canada for this review copy.
Pilates Practice Companion by Alycea Ungaro, Dorling Kindersley (DK), ©2011. ISBN 9780756671495(Hardcover), 256p.