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pilates exercise and movement method

Pilates movement for core stability, strength and flexibility

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Books are divided into sections for beginners, intermediate and advanced exercisers, Pilates for specific conditions e.g. pregnancy or for back problems, and Pilates as an holistic approach to health and well-being.


The Official Body Control Pilates Manual
The book that Body Control Pilates teachers recommend to clients. Body Control Pilates introduces the exercises step by step, broken down into achievable movements. You only progress when you are comfortable with the first stage of the exercise. This is clearly demonstrated in this book along with the rationale and principles behind the Pilates method. The book divides exercises into beginners', intermediate and advanced, which echos the way you will be taught in Body Control classes. It culminates in The Powerhouse - the series of five, which challege both strength and stamina.

One of the most useful features of this book is that it suggests programmes for Pilates for work-related postural problems, for sports, for the performing arts and for specific body types.

There are, for instance, specific combinations of exercises suggested for sedentary workers, the medical profession, those who drive for a living, manual workers, and those who stand all day long. Sports enthusiasts can find programmes for football, rugby, cricket, racquet sports, golf, swimming, water sports, running, skying and cycling. Actors, dancers, musicians and singers will find their own recommended series of exercises.

In addition, there is a section on how Pilates can help with women's health (including post-natal), men's health, hedaches, knee problems, back problems, osteoporosis, whiplash and the immune system.

Body Control the Pilates Way

One of the first Body Control Pilates books. Contains many exercises not included in the Official Body Control Pilates Manual.

Modern Pilates
Modern Pilates: The Step by Step, at Home Guide to a Stronger Body.
Aside from Body Control Pilates, one of the better Pilates books for beginners. Well worth a look, and to give an alternate view of the method.


Pilates on the Ball
Pilates on the Ball: The World's Most Popular Workout Using the Exercise Ball.
Fun, fun, fun!

Pilates Gym
Pilates Gym: The Balanced Workout
Use Pilates techniques to maximise the effectiveness of gym and home workouts.

Through the Day with Pilates: The Morning Energiser
Includes 12-15 Pilates exercises to get you up and about in the mornings, together with quotations, to help face a new day.

Through the Day with Pilates: The Desk Reviver
Through the Day with Pilates: The Desk Reviver
Slumped over your desk at work? Hunched over a keyboard? Staring at a screen? This book offers a quick-fix workout using the Pilates method, which should ease your aches and pains, and enable you to approach your tasks afresh.

Through the Day with Pilates: The Evening Relaxer

The simple workout using the Pilates method in this mini-book is designed to relieve you of the pressures of the day, and undo any damage you may have done to yourself, whether seated, carrying, driving or slouching.

Through the Day with Pilates: Off to Sleep
Through the Day with Pilates: Off to Sleep
Unwind and relax with Body Control Pilates. Whether you are a habitual insomniac or have something on your mind, this book includes a series of stretches using the Pilates method - many of which can be done lying in bed - to ease muscles, release tension, and trigger natural sleep responses.

Pilates Body Power
Pilates Body Power
An exercise system based on the Pilates method for every part of your body - and every part of your day.


The Pilates Powerhouse The Pilates Powerhouse: The Essential Home Guide for Improving Strength, Tone, Shape and Balance.
Mari Winsor presents classical Pilates from 'beginner's' to advanced level. I would recommend this as an excellent guide to intermediate and advanced variations on the Pilates method.

The Pilates Body
The Pilates Body
Brook Siler's book features 'The Full Mat' workout and is very challenging. Only for advanced exercisers!

Ultimate Pilates: Achieve the Perfect Body Shape
Ultimate Pilates: Achieve the Perfect Body Shape
Fun, but advanced!

Pilates for specific conditions:

The Body Control Pilates Back Book
Specifically geared towards those with a back problem, this book is based on the extensive research the Body Control Pilates organisation has conducted into Pilates for remedial work. Clear and easy to follow. The Body Control Pilates Back Book

Pilates for Pregnancy: Gentle and effective techniques for before and after birth.
Pilates for Pregnancy: Gentle and effective techniques for before and after birth.
This title provides exercises designed to work the pelvic floor and strengthen the muscles supporting the spine, preparing the pregnant woman for the baby's birth. Use in conjunction with one-to-one classes with a qualified Pilates teacher with advanced certification in pre and post natal care.

Holistic Pilates:

Pilates Plus Diet Pilates Plus Diet
Lynne Robinson combines the Body Control Pilates system with a sound, contemporary diet to help you regain a shapely figure and stay slim.

Perfect Body the Pilates Way Perfect Body the Pilates Way
Pilates exercises with beauty, health and nutritional information including aromatherapy, massage and reflexology.

Pilates for a Fabulous Body: The complete age power programme.
Pilates for a Fabulous Body: The complete age power programme.
Lesley Ackland has put together a fitness programme which includes pilates exercises and a nutrition plan to make everyone look and feel years younger. It includes resistance training and weight bearing exercises.

About Pilates
Pilates is a method of body conditioning, or exercise, which was originally developed by Joseph Pilates over seventy years ago. In his words Pilates 'is designed to give you suppleness, natural grace, and skill that will be unmistakably reflected in the way you walk, in the way you play, and in the way you work'. At the beginning of the twenty-first century Pilates is more popular than its originator could ever have imagined.

What does the Pilates method do?
Practising Pilates changes the way we use our body and the way we move. It changes the way we look at our bodies, and it changes the way our body looks. At the heart of the method is the emphasis on our mind-body connection, and in the early stages of our training, much of what we learn has to do with developing an awareness about how we move, how we sit and stand and how we can develop balance and alter movement and postural patterns.

Practically, Pilates works first on postural muscles reestablishing the correct balance between different muscle groups, strengthening some muscles and releasing others. The exercises are very simple, but require some degree of concentration. As each person is an individual, each body will be different, too, and therefore postural patterns and patterns of stiffness and ease, balance and imbalance will be different from person to person. Pilates copes with this with ease - there is no 'one size fits all' syndrome. As your strength develops, the exercises get harder - they can be extremely challenging! Learning the Pilates method brings a toned, strong, supple body.

Core stability
Core stability is the stability of the pelvic girdle, the group of muscles which wrap around the stomach, hips and lower back like a corset. These muscles give protection and stability for the lumbar spine. They are known as stabilizing postural muscles and are important for the way the rest of the body is held. When they are weak or imbalanced this can cause both back and leg problems. The Pilates method aligns, rebalances and strengthens these muscles.

Osteopaths and physiotherapists, practitioners from both complementary and orthodox medical fields have been amazed by the method's success with back problems and spinal injuries as well as its beneficial effect on the immune system, on knee and shoulder injuries, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis. Because of its focus on the way the body really works, and its ability to isolate individual muscles which need either strengthening or releasing, Pilates is the exercise method of choice for rehabilitation from injury.

The list of sports men and women who have become Pilates enthusiasts grows and grows. Through the careful development of different muscles and the reestablishment of balance, Pilates offers them a dramatic improvement in performance and a sporting career much less prone to interruption through injuries.