Review: Pilates Interactive Workbook by Christina Gadar


Wow – this is a big book!

Christina Gadar has written an impressive Pilates book  with a tag line that challenges, “if you're going to do it - do it right.” At over 300 pages, the book is modeled entirely by Gadar who, as a former dancer, is a beautiful example of well executed classical Pilates.

Dozens of books have been written presenting the classical curriculum and each has something unique to offer.

  Gadar made particular good use of her content by including some small specifics and details that you might not have seen before.

For starters, Gadar is brutally honest. Her intro does not mince words in telling the reader that they will not be able to learn Pilates simply by reading this book. She is particularly invested in the idea that students should become their own teachers.  The book itself is titled an “interactive workbook” . If the tagline, and the Intro didn’t make it clear, then the first exercise instruction sheet will. Half of the page is blank with short and simple title, “My Notes”.  The use of the word “My” is clearly intended to impart a sense of ownership of ones own practice.  In fact, Gadar asserted that the primary reason she published the book was to provide a tool for her existing clients to keep up their practice while they were away from her studio.  The book is definitely laid out to support rather than spoon feed.

 Here's my review and what you'll find if you pick up a copy. 

The Basic Matwork

Simple and direct. Gadar opts for simple instruction rather than imagery and anatomical cues. That makes this book especially accessible for the newer student who really wishes to supplement their studio workouts with at home workouts.

The Intermediate Matwork

More of the same but I fell in love with her inclusion of the standing Preparation. This is the formal way to mount you mat at the beginning of the Matwork and yet it is rarely seen in studios, let alone books. The move appears again in reverse at the end of the section instructing students to rise up to standing at the end of the mat in the exact way they sat down. Bravo for this little gem.

The Magic Circle Matwork

In a seamless segue the Magic Circle Matwork section builds on the Intermediate mat by adding a classic prop. Rather than opt for more creative variations or teach a whole slew of new moves, this section is the exact order and sequence as the prior one. This means if you have mastered the Intermediate Matwork section – you simply have to add the circle.  Simplicity wins out.

The Weights, The Wall and More Magic Circle

The following three sections are supplemental material including the Standing Weights Series, The Wall Series and an additional section on Magic Circle exercises.

These sections are vital for a well rounded Pilates program and Gadar did an especially thorough job with the Magic Circle chapter. Here, she pulls the student off the Mat to showcase the exercises done beyond the original Mat routine. If you own a Magic Circle, this section will be a terrific asset to your library.

The Reformer

The book concludes with a solid Reformer section including a basic and intermediate workout with over 30 exercises. Including a Reformer section is an ambitious undertaking, but Gadar presents it with simplicity and clarity again. I appreciate her focus on educating the reader rather than entertaining them. At the outset of the section there is a page on Reformer Parts, illustrated with names and corresponding apparatus parts to help guide the student. The use of pictures on this page demonstrates several things at a time from body placement to use of the sticky pads and much more. If you know Pilates, this presentation shows that Gadar is more than a beautiful model but also an experienced teacher with a rich understanding of Pilates. 

There are other larger books that go deeper into one apparatus such as Kathi Ross-Nash's The Red Thread. And of course there are the go-to beginner books that the industry favors in teacher training programs such as my own Pilates: Body in Motion. Overall, Gadar's book is a no-nonsense publication intended to support your existing practice and provide a clean crisp visual reference for a solid Pilates routine.  

Visit Christina Gadar's website at See a video overview of the book on  Buy the book at here. 

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