Although I was already familiar with Pilates via other instructors (namely, Ana Caban's videos and Brook Siler's book), I decided to give this video a try to see how I liked Hilary Burnett's style. A unique aspect of this workout is that it is the only Pilates practice I've ever tried which includes some brief stretches to warm up for and to cool down after the actual Pilates exercises.
The workout itself consists of 10 basic Pilates moves. Hilary sets a nice, easy-going pace to the practice, and she provides helpful pointers about how to perform the exercises. Each move is appropriate to someone at a beginning level, and for some exercises, Hilary offers modifications via an inset on the screen. My one problem with this video was that I found her modifications to be less effective than what I've seen from other instructors, especially for those with limited flexibility like myself. Plus, given the short length of the workout, it is not overly challenging, although I did feel thoroughly stretched out at the end.
The video is filmed in a softly lit, living room type setting, and soft guitar music is occasionally heard in the background. Hilary provides mainly live instruction with additional tips via voiceover. Overall, this is a solid introduction to the Pilates method, but beginners with limited flexibility might want to consider seeking additional resources (a book, another video) for further assistance on modifications.
The best thing about Hilary's instruction is her strong emphasis on breathing. Although all Pilates workouts stress the importance of proper breathing, I found that Hilary provided more detailed instruction and descriptive cues, making it easier for me to understand exactly how and when I was supposed to take each breath.
Beth (aka toaster)
December 15, 2003