Nicole Stuart with her baby (Instagram @NicoleStuartLA)

Most people think pilates is only accessible to people with money and that giant “MACHINE.” It’s actually called the reformer and it’s a great way to do Pilates, but it’s not the only way. The truth is pilates as a practice, is a series of exercises that can be done on the reformer or on a mat, just like yoga. Once learned, you can go through them like a flow yoga class; moving from one exercise to the next, for a total whole body workout, as well as a cardio burn.

My point being, it is a myth that pilates is only effective when performed on the reformer. 

The Fact is, you can enjoy a result yielding workout, doing pilates on a yoga mat in your own home with no equipment.

Here are three exercises you can start off with:


  • Lifting your body up into a “C,” curve,
  • extend your arms and legs extend out in front of you
  • (leg level depends on your ab strength, higher for weaker, lower for stronger abs)
  • pump your arms 4-6 inches while inhaling for a 5 count
  • continue pumping and then exhale for 5 counts
  • continuing pumping your arms
  • inhale for 5 counts while exhaling for 5 counts
  • Do this 10 times
  • hence the name: 10 x 10 = 100


  • Keep your head up and put your upper body into a “C,” curve,
  • bring your hands directly over your elbows
  • bring your knees into your stomach
  • on an inhale extend your arms and legs together
  • on the exhale pull your knees in towards your stomach, engaging your abs, pulling them in as deep as possible
  • then bend your elbows back to where you started and repeat

Hot Potato

One of the less frequently seen exercises from the classic Pilates Side Kick series is called the Hot Potato. This single exercise incorporates elements of several other side-lying leg exercises. Perform this move either alone or in sequence with several other side kicks to strengthen, shape and sculpt your inner and outer thighs.

  • Pilates-Without-That-Giant-Machine-5Lie on your side on a Pilates mat or padded surface. Align your body in one long line from head to tail and then angle your legs forward at a 45 degree angle to the upper body.
  • Prop your head up on your bottom hand and place your free hand in front of you on the mat.
  • The palm is flat and fixed in front of your abdominals.
  • As you set up, be sure your hips and shoulders are stacked, one directly over the other to keep you stable as the move progresses.
  • Raise the top leg just above the bottom leg to prepare. Get ready to move very briskly.
  • Start with 6 counts down and up with your leg accent and count is on the up
  • Move from front to back 6/6, 5/5,4/4,3/3,2/2,1/1
  • Working your way down with the counts returning back to center

More Exercises

There are plenty of resources online that showcase pilates exercises you can do at home. Feel free to check out my app QE2 on Itunes for daily pilates exercises that target all body parts.