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If you take an equipment-based class at a Pilates studio, certified instructors will guide you through use of the machines, which will stretch and strengthen different parts of the body. But you can get all the benefits of the six principles of Pilates from mat-based exercises, too. Many gyms offer mat-based Pilates classes, sometimes called yoga Pilates classes. Some are geared towards beginners and others are more advanced so if you want to try Pilates for the first time, ask at your gym or studio to find out whether the instructor caters to novices.
But you may not be as much of a novice as you think. Many mat-based Pilates exercises will seem familiar if you have attended any type of hatha yoga class.
For example, pigeon pose, a yoga posture that opens the hips, can be found in Pilates routines, as can plank pose, which is popular in power yoga classes as a way to build strength in the core body and shoulders.