What You Get
- a 10 minute tutorial on body position and Pilates powerhouse.
- a 25 minute set of exercises that teach coordination with the breath
- a 30 minute basic Pilates workout
- a 10 minute "bonus" download workout of standing Pilates which could not be verified or reviewed because the URL given on the DVD did not work.
Full Retail Price: $14.98
I have reviewed three other Pilates DVDs from Mari Winsor (see links below) and I used to own a full set of Winsor Pilates workouts on VHS back in the day, so I have a pretty good idea of what a new beginner Pilates DVD from Mari Winsor could be. This isn't quite it. I don't know if it was the switch from making DVDs as Winsor Pilates to making DVDs for Gaiam but this is my least favorite Mari Winsor DVD.
That's not to say that Beginner Pilates is terrible. It's definitely not. But it is lacking the energy and clarity of many of Mari Winsors' other DVD/video workouts. Mari is a very experienced Pilates instructor, but the ideas she wants to communicate here don't flow very well. Even though there is a 10 minute intro called "Perfect Form Pilates", some Pilates principles and fundamental movement ideas are touched on, but many are skipped and not picked up elsewhere -- which isn't what I want is a beginner DVD.
There are two main workouts on this DVD but they are very similar and feel somewhat haphazard in the exercise choices and sequencing. For example spine stretch, saw, and spine twist are sequenced one after the other. That's not a sin, there are things to be learned from that, but that is a lot of back stretching and twisting at once for those not used to it. Neck pull, an advanced mat exercise is also included--not in it's full form, but close. Those were not the only examples of what to my mind was a questionable placement for an exercise. I can't report on the bonus download workout because the URL Gaiam provided for the standing Pilates download did not work (I hope they fix that by the time you read this).
I've also been spoiled by some Winsor Pilates DVDs of the past that featured a number of models showing the exercises with various degrees of modifications. That's not something a beginner Pilates DVD has to have, but to my mind it is preferable. In this case, the model is an instructor and she is lovely, but she doesn't always show the clarity of form that I want beginners to see. For example, the way energy is carried through the whole body is important in Pilates, yet I never saw an extension through the whole leg and foot in any workout. No need to be too critical, but I want to bring it to your attention that there were some significant lapses in the demonstrations.
Even though Mari Winsor's Beginner Pilates isn't a stellar beginner Pilates DVD, it does have good features. An experienced instructor, Mari she does a really good job of anticipating the main issues that come up for beginner bodies. She is welcoming and encouraging, and the pace is good for beginners. The workouts addressed all areas of the body, and included elements of strength and stretch. Plus, Mari always makes sure you get some good thigh and butt work in -- I know that comes from being one of those "trainers of the stars". The workouts are based on mostly classical Pilates mat exercises and they do focus on strengthening the Pilates powerhouse, a concept I always appreciate Mari for keeping alive in the public mind.