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Pilates: Body in Motion Paperback – February 20, 2002
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About the Author
Alycea Ungaro is a pioneer of the Pilates method, and the author of bestselling titles including Pilates: Body in Motion, 1st edition, The Pilates Promise, and The Pilates Practice Companion. In addition to serving on the advisory board of Fitness Magazine, Ungaro also travels widely as a guest teacher hosting retreats at world-famous location such as Amangani in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She has trained celebrities including Madonna, Uma Thurman, Kyra Sedgewick, Claire Danes, and Molly Sims.
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Top Customer Reviews
Ungaro gives a brief description of the origins of Pilates (and hers is slightly more detailed than some of the other accounts) as well as an introduction to Pilates terminology and principles. READ THESE if you are just starting out. Also, better than other sources I have read, she explains why some movements are considered "Beginner" and some are "Advanced"- good information for anyone who has ever scratched their head when watching a video or following another manual.
Then to the body of the book. She first lays out the Introductory Program, a series of six or seven of the most basic Pilates movements done with modifications. Then the Beginner's Program, which is exactly the Introductory program only with more traditional form. For the Intermediate and Advanced programs, she uses guides which show all of the exercises in order. In addition to being a good quick reference to what sequence to use, it also gives the reader a sense for how each exercise should flow into another.
The exercises themselves are explained with photographs linking breathing to each "mini movement" and just enough text to explain what to do. The photographs in this book- as well as the pages themselves- are perfect. Color photographs in muted tones that make it easy to see what you're supposed to do without being distracting.
Ungaro also includes Circle and Wall exercises. These smaller, shorter routines can be incorporated into your day when you don't have time for a full mat workout, or added on to complement it. One drawback: she does not include the any of the Standing Sculpting Series (used with light weights). If you need a reference for this, see Siler's book. Otherwise, this is the perfect Pilates manual.
Several added bonuses which I found in this book that were not in any of the other books I looked at. 1) There are breathing instructions on every page for every exercise. 2) Ms. Ungaro is a Physical Therapist and so each exercise comes with a "caution" for certain injuries. I found this very helpful as I have an old knee injury. 3) There is an actual "TRANSITION" for each exercise to help you link one exercise to the next. Although I haven't gotten that far, I imagine that this routine will be very aerobic if you keep moving through the exercises without stopping.
I have been doing the intro section now for just about a week and I think I have the "scoop" concept down pat. I plan to move on to the beginner section next week. I will write another review as my results become apparent.
I am a Pilates student and have been working out at a studio for about 5 years now. I have many of the other Pilates books but from now on I will only refer to Pilates Body in Motion. The Pilates Body by Brooke Siler has been my best resource until now but that book is very long winded and a bit weak on photographs. This book by Ungaro really put it all together. Great design, superlative instruction and a good price too. I am planning to buy her audio Mat class next to put her instructions and her live voice together for a true "real-time"experience.
The text is complete without being overwhelming-- Pilates is so detailed that descriptions of how to perform it correctly can be like instructions for building a kid's bike from 10,000 tiny, unfamiliar pieces. Alycea Ungaro does a great job of getting to the heart of each exercise and communicating what's important without any fluff or distractions. Also, her introductory information is both helpful and interesting, and useful for referring back to again and again.
Overall, I find this book useful and entertaining- working out with it is actually fun, and the fact that its perfect models include a man is inspiring!