All posts by michellePod

About michellePod

Owner of the multi award winning, small but perfectly formed, The Pilates Pod in Hitchin. Been a lover and instructor for Pilates for 12 years. After it helped me get rid of back pain from a car accident , helped me through pregnancy, post natal tone up and general fitness, I just love spreading the Pilates love!

March MATness Challenge

Every March, participants across the global Pilates community share their love for the work in a synchronized social media campaign.

march matness

Created in 2013 by Benjamin Degenhardt,  now, the campaign has moved completely into the hands of the fans that MarchMATness has gathered since the very beginning: using the hashtag #MarchMATness, everyone is invited to contribute their stories, pictures, videos and any tidbits of education and inspiration they want to share across all social media channels.

What is unique about the campaign is that for one month, the community pays tribute to the traditional Mat exercises as documented by Joseph Pilates in his book Return to Life through Contrology

34 flowing exercises using your own body weight that are invigorating and effective in conditioning the body and that were given as homework to clients inbetween studio apparatus sessions.

At The Pilates Pod, we are big supporters of this movement and love to spread the joy that is Pilates Matwork as an accessible workout you can do anywhere, anytime, with just yourself!

We believe Pilates should be fun, and easy. So often it’s over complicated with too many instructions, even before you have moved! We believe movement heals, so let’s get the body moving and flowing first with simple clear easy instructions without overthinking it, trying to get it perfect and over analysis – JUST ENJOY AND MOVE!

Join in our March MATness Challenge. Earn points, Win prizes!

  • For every Mat class you attend in March, you earn 1 POINT

  • Matwork with Small Props- Saturdays 10am & Sundays 9am, you earn 2 POINTS

  • Book a friend/family member on the Intro to Matwork 4 wk course, earn 2 POINTS

  • Join in March MATness on social media (see info below) and get 1 POINT per post.

    The person with the most points at the end of March will win a 55 minute 1:1 Private Training session AND a Pod Squad T-shirt. Plus 4 Runners Up will win a Pilates DVD AND 1 weekend Mat class.

To help you cram in those extra mat classes, we’re giving you the chance to buy some extra credits at a fantastic low price in March.
10 credits £110 – expires 8 weeks from purchase. Use Code Marchmat10. BOOK
5 credits £60- expires 4 weeks from purchase. Use Code Marchmat5. BOOK

4 weeks Full Classical Intro to Matwork with apprentice teacher Stephen- Mondays 8-8.55pm 12th March – 9th April (excludes bank holiday 2nd April) BOOK

Joe Funny

Ready to join the movement? Fantastic! March is a particularly great month to embark on a Pilates Mat practice because the entire Pilates community is helping you get inspired and educated. Perhaps even pick up a copy of Return to Life through Contrology, the original Pilates book by the method’s founding father himself!

First, roll out your Mat. Then follow these simple steps:

1. Follow March MATness on social media

Visit @marchmatness at Facebook or Instagram. Actually, why not both?

2. Pick an exercise from the list

You can pick as many exercises as you like… why not all 34?

1. #hundred
2. #rollup
3. #rollover
4. #onelegcircle
5. #rollingback
6. #onelegstretch
7. #doublelegstretch
8. #spinestretch
9. #rockerwithopenlegs
10. #corkscrew
11. #saw
12. #swandive
13. #onelegkick
14. #doublelegkick
15. #neckpull
16. #scissors and #bicycle
17. #shoulderbridge
18. #spinetwist
19. #jackknife
20. #sidekick
21. #teaser
22. #hiptwist
23. #swimming
24. #legpulls (front and back)
25. #kneelingsidekick
26. #sidebend
27. #boomerang
28. #seal and #crab
29. #rocking
30. #controlbalance
31. #pushup

3. Create something worth sharing

It could be a photograph, a video, musings, practice tips, a drawing… any form of creative expression is welcome but remember: it’s not a challenge, and it’s not a contest… it’s a celebration!

4. Note the date(s) for each exercise

To synchronize the campaign, the number on the list above corresponds with the day of the exercise’s turn; March 15 is The Neck Pull, for example.

5. Add hashtags

To connect with everyone participating, use the corresponding hashtag as listed above with each exercise. Be sure to add the hastags #marchmatness2018  #thepilatespod #justhavefunandmove #progressnotperfection and don’t forget to use the right # for the name of the corresponding exercise for that day.

6. Spread the word!

Post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, YouTube, your blog, tell your friends…
Be sure to tag @thepilatespod on Facebook, on Twitter and on Instagram or we won’t know you are there! Or you can email us and we’ll share your posts

See you on the Mat!
Michelle x

Written by Michelle Smith
Owner, The Pilates Pod

A new year, new changes and a new you with The Pilates Pod

“One size does not fit all”  (Michelle, owner of The Pilates Pod)

Known originally as Contrology, Joe Pilates’ method is the art and study of control. 

Control over the mind, breath, centre (powerhouse) and the whole body to create balance and a uniformed body that is strong AND flexible all over.

We have LOTS of new exciting changes to the studio for 2018 so grab a cuppa and read on…

Pilates is a journey. Your own journey.  Joe never had “levels” in his sessions as every one works at their own level. You had your 1st five sessions as a new beginner to the studio, then you had a lifetime of individual work, journey and progress working around the studio on all the apparatus in an open studio with just Joe or Clara around to help assist and give you one more exercise to add to your routine when they felt you had earned it.

How we start here at The Pilates Pod

We don’t leave you quite as alone as Joe did. Start with the fundamentals of the studio system. In the fundamental system, you will start learning the Intro exercises, orders and transitions of Matwork and Reformer (the bread and butter of Pilates) as well as introducing you to the arm springs work, roll back bar and wall endings with hand weights.

We’ve got 2 Intro Packages for new clients  to do this. You can buy each package once. (if you are already an existing client, and you have never experienced a full studio session, you can also take advantage of each one of these packages, once.)

  • Semi Private Group (up to 4 people) 3 weeks Unlimited Studio sessions £60 (3 weeks from your 1st session) For healthy bodies, or those with general aches and weaknesses.
  • Individual Private Training:  3 x 1:1’s £120 (to use in 2 weeks from your 1st session) The recommended route for “all eyes on you”, or for anyone suffering with back disc issues, joint pain, neurological issues, or specific issues surrounding pelvic floor, c-section or abdominal separation.

Where to go after the basics?

Every BODY is different, every mind too! Some people pick things up quicker than others, some people’s body responds easier than others. It doesn’t matter! What matters is YOUR journey, your progress. It’s not a race. Pilates is about learning your orders and transitions for matwork and reformer,  as well as practicing the exercises themselves and getting it deep inside the body. If you are working through specific issues, you should stay with 1:1’s, otherwise We recommend that everyone as much as possible follows 2 -3 sessions a week, pre books them in to ensure consistency and includes:

  • Semi Private Pilates Studio Apparatus class.  With up to 4 people per session, these classes are the true Pilates experience. Using resistance from the springs and matwork combined as well as an opportunity to correct your individual needs using the whole system from barrels, spine correctors, pedi pole, toe corrector, foot corrector, magic circles on top of those exercises found in the fundamental levels. Plus it gives you a chance to be more independent than 1:1’s, for the best result.  If you have been doing 1:1’s for a while now and aren’t dealing with specific issues, maybe it’s time to switch to semi-private. If you have been doing Mat or Reformer independently, give these classes a go.
  • You can find even more of these classes for 2018: Mondays 2pm, alternate Mondays 6pm, Wednesdays 8pm,  Thursdays 10.30am & 7pm, Saturdays 12.15pm and Sundays 11am.
  • OR Private Training 1:1’s, Duets or Skype sessions.

PLUS a weekly one of these to fine tune one aspect of Pilates…

  • Matwork. Using no resistance except your own body weight, this can often feel the most challenging if the body is too tight in some areas, too weak in others, to support and perform the exercises with control, which is why the Reformer and small props helps give you this balanced body. Some small props may be used now as required. It’s really easy to learn and do at home between studio visits, but remember matwork is only 2% of the full Pilates system, so do use apparatus as often as you can!
  • You can find these classes for 2018: Mondays 9.30am, 7pm & 8pm, Tuesdays 8pm, Wednesdays 9.30am (Gentle Flow Mat) Wednesdays 7pm, Thursdays 8pm, Fridays 10.15am, Sundays 10am.
  • Barrels & Matwork. Using the small barrels and spine correctors, your body will restore its natural curves and alignment with the help and support that the curves of the barrel provide. Your Matwork & Reformer exercises will be enhanced, challenged and given support in order for you to learn and fine tune your Pilates. A perfect antidote class to modern life ill posture and tight hips/rounded shoulders.
  • You can find this class for 2018:  Fridays 12.15-1pm
  • Pilates with Small Props. A CHANGE to the old Pilates with Props circuit style class. This new class will be performed all together more like traditional matwork classes rather than a circuit, but every week will use many of the small props found in the studio, both contemporary and classical from fitballs, magic circles, poles, mini balls, rollers, hand weights, flexi-bands, toe correctors. Matwork with lots of small toys! No large apparatus will be used in this class like Reformer, Pedi Pole, Spine Correctors and barrels.
  • You can find these classes for 2018: NEW TIME Saturdays 10am, Sundays 10am.
  • Reformer Pilates. If Matwork is the butter, Reformer is the bread. These two systems that Joe created are the only ones with orders to them. Just as you would practice the finer deeper work of Matwork in a full 55 min class, this is the same but on Reformer.  The springs are what make the change to people’s bodies and create a lift in the spine; better, faster and more efficiently than matwork alone. Only 2 per class, you work at your own level and order.
  • You can find these classes for 2018: Mondays 12.45pm, Tuesdays 6pm, Thursdays 9.30am & 6pm, Fridays 6pm.
  • Jumpboard Reformer Express. The jumpboard provides a soft platform in which you jump and bounce off whilst laying down. Add an express workout for your cardio levels and fat burning for those short on time, or in perfect addition to a regular class before or after. Not suitable for pregnancy or anyone with weak core, bad backs or new.
  • You can find these classes for 2018: Wednesdays 9am and Fridays 5.30pm.

Our door is open…..

By popular request, we’re opening our studio doors to you for 2018 at special times every week in which you can come in to practice by yourself. These “Open Studio” sessions give you an opportunity to come into the studio, work with the apparatus, matwork and small props. Whether you feel like stretching, working hard, geeking out on one particularly exercise or particular piece of apparatus, it’s all up to you. An instructor will be present but this is NOT a led session. A teacher will only be present for safety not for asking questions or advice. Please do be respectful to this and to other clients present in the room for their workouts to keep noise to a minimum. This is a time for yourself to workout,  a chance to come more often, workout with others, for your own practice, your way, with our studio, our equipment. We ask that you show up on time but feel free to leave quietly whenever you like within the 55 min slot. You are responsible for your own safety, modifications and for the equipment during these times. You must only use apparatus if you know how to use it and must sign a declaration form from Michelle before attending your first session. Min 5 sessions must have been attended on mat or on apparatus before you attend.

Open Studio Matwork £7.50 – Matwork only with small props. Up to 55 mins. 6 spaces .
Times available during 2018:
Mondays 2pm. Tuesdays 6pm. Wednesdays 8pm. Thursdays 9.30am, 6pm. Fridays 3.30pm, 6pm. Saturdays 9am. Sundays 12.00
Book here.

Open Studio Apparatus £15 – All the toys big and small in the studio inc Reformer, small barrel, spine corrector, foot corrector, toe corrector, pedi pole etc. Up to 55 mins. 2 spaces 
Times available during 2018:
Mondays 8pm. Tuesdays 8pm, Wednesday 7pm,  Saturdays 10am, Sundays 9am.  Book here.

To help you with your Open Studio workouts, we’ll be running Pilates Playground workshops every month. In these workshops, we’ll be taking a close look at a couple matwork exercises, and a couple of exercises performed on one piece of apparatus. We’ll geek them out, understand them, play with them, practice them, learn how to and how not to do perform them. You can then add them into your routine when you next come to the studio, or just use them as helpful tips and tricks. We strongly suggest you attend these as often as you can, or book a 1:1 instead if you cant make it. Fee £20 for each workshop, class credits cannot be used as payment.
The next Pilates Playground will be:
Saturday 6th January 9.15am-10.10am with Michelle.  It all starts from the feet!
A look at some of the feet on the bar work taken from the Reformer and the Foot Corrector. Essential places to start for everyone to connect their “feet to the seat” as well as particular useful for those with neurological issuess, limited foot mobility and strength.  Book here.
Sunday 4th February 12.00-12.55pm with Ellen.  Arm Springs. How the arms are rooted into the shoulder joint and how the shoulders are connected to the back body is so important. We’ll look at the arm spring series, some exercises on the Reformer and adding hand weights into our matwork. Book here



Christmas Timetable 2017

Tis the season to be jolly, and there is no jollier place than The Pilates Pod at Christmas….

Check out the Christmas Special Timetable 2017. Why not take advantage of our special 2 week Unlimited class offer during this time to balance out those extra festive indulgences

Christmas Eve
9.15am Xmas Matwork with a Halo
10.30am Reform yourself and get on the “nice list”

Christmas Day and Boxing Day – closed

27th December

28th December

29th December

30th December

New Years Eve

New Years Day – Closed

2nd January

3rd January

4th January

5th January

6th January

7th January

The full timetable for 2018 begins on Monday 8th January – book ahead for your favourite classes and private training slots – January – March are always particularly busy months.





Give the gift even Mariah wants this Christmas (& bag free stuff for you!)

I don’t want a lot for Christmas, there is just one thing I need. I don’t care about the presents, underneath the Christmas tree. I just want you for my own, more than you will ever know. Make my wish come true, all I want for Christmas is you…..

A toned body
A life of  freedom from back and joint pain
Better mobility and flexibility
Improved posture
Overall health, wellbeing and stress relief
New friendships

Gift Voucher

You know, love and feel the fantastic benefits that our Pilates sessions have given to your mind and body. So this Christmas, why not pass on that lifelong joy to someone you love.  A Pilates Pod Gift Voucher. That’s so much better than pair of novelty socks, a few smellies or a bottle of plonk!

PLUS when you buy selected Intro Packages, bag yourself free class credits for you! The gift that really does keep on giving!

Buy 3 weeks Unlimited Studio Apparatus Classes £60- get yourself 1 free class credit
Buy 3 x 1:1’s for £120 – get yourself 3 class credits 

More ideas for you….

  • If they are pregnant or just become a new mum – why not buy a voucher for pregnancy classes (£75) or 5 week postnatal course (£60.) For abdominal separation, c-section healing and pelvic floor weakness help – buy a 1:1 private training lesson (£48.50)
  • If they are struggling with back, hip, knee or pelvic pain – buy some 1:1 lessons. Ranging from £48.50 for one, £120 for Intro package of 3* or 5 lessons for £235.
  • If they would like to tone up, get fitter and healthier, start moving, feel active, improve aches and stiffness. Buy the gift of an Intro Group 3 week Unlimited Studio Sessions (£60)
  • Need a stocking filler? Grab a single class voucher for £16 to try a classical mat shirtsclass.  Pilates Stott Pilates DVD’s for home workouts for just £5. Bag a “Pod Squad” t-shirt for a fitness fan  to workout in. Available in unisex flowy tank or standard Tee. £24
  • Money! You can’t go wrong with just putting a straight forward sum of Pilates cash onto their account as a present gift card. Any amount from £10 is an option.


Buy online, over the phone 01462 338002 or email us and authorise us to purchase using your card.  You can pick up your voucher or we can send an e-voucher. Plus we’re open until 12.00 on Xmas Eve so plenty of time to grab some last minute ideas.

Christmas is a time for giving, it’s a time for family, friends, sharing joy and happiness, so spread a little happiness with a Pilates Pod Christmas Gift.

Christmas Unlimited

We all know the run up to Christmas is fun fun fun, but with Christmas parties and family gatherings to fit in, your Pilates routine (and your fitness levels!) can go a little off track.

So to help you find that balance and to avoid the inevitable hard slog trying to workout again after the festivities end, we’ve created our Christmas Unlimited Package.

Running from now until 7th January, come as often as you like for 2 weeks –  any time, any class – from Classical Matwork Pilates, to Barrels class, Semi Private Studio Fundamentals, Twin Reformer, to Xmas Eve specials. All classes whether 1 credit or 2, semi private or regular classes, all teachers…. that’s 2 weeks unlimited Pilates Pod over 7 days a week for just £100.

You’ll find our usual fabulous classes, as well as the Christmas Timetable (over the period of 24th December -7th January inc) which sees all sorts of little bonus sessions from extra Jumpboard Reformer Express workouts to raise the cardio levels and burn off some mince pies,  Matwork with Fitball fun, Semi Private Studio Apparatus to work the basics of the whole Pilates system inc Reformer, Matwork and small props combined, Barrels & Matwork, and of course the much loved Classical Matwork, and Pregnancy classes.

You can join the Christmas Unlimited Package anytime from now, but the last date you can come to classes under this deal is 7th January 2018.

Buy online, via our Mind Body app, over the phone 01462 338002 or email us and authorise us to purchase using your card.

And just a quick request from us… please do cancel online if you are no longer coming, others may really want a space!

Back to School Offers for Classes and Private Training

The kids go back to school! Summer is gone and the Autumnal season is upon us.

It’s time to shake off the thoughts of ice creams, long lazy BBQ evening and start thinking about getting back to routine and good healthier habits.

So we’re here to help you make the good intentions turn into good habits with a little saving £££.

Special Offer on Class Credits

  • 5 class credits – to use in 6 weeks from purchase date. £60.
  • 10 class credits – to use in 12 weeks from purchase date. £125.
  • Unlimited studio fundamentals classes for 3 weeks*. £60. Available Wednesday 8pm, Thursday 10.30am and 7pm, and Saturday 12.15pm. (* from first session)

Special Offer on Private Training Credits

  • 1 Duet Training session for you and a friend together. £60. (To be used within 4 weeks from purchase date.)  Please make sure you both purchase a Duet session at the same time and both book in with your own names.
  • 3 Private Training sessions – to use in 2 weeks from first session. £120.
  • 10 Private Training sessions – to use in 12 weeks from purchase date. £420.

Please remember availability is on a first come first booked basis and cannot be guaranteed so please book in advance.

Book online or call 01462 338002 – we can’t wait to workout with you!



2 great new offers for new and existing clients

Enjoy both offers, 1 per client.

  • 3 x 1:1 Private Training sessions for £120 (to be used within 2 weeks)
    • All eyes on you! Private training is a complete personalised individual session based on what we see your body needs, what your issues are and what your goals are.We have the tools and the toolbox, let us help you improve the mobility in your back, help with hip, knee and shoulder issues, have time to work on finessing your transitions and orders in the Matwork or Reformer,  improve pelvic floor weakness, abdominal separation. Whatever your goal, or if you just want to move, we can help!

      Personal Training at The Pilates Pod
      Personal Training at The Pilates Pod
  • 3 weeks of unlimited Studio Fundamentals Classes* for just £60
    • That’s only £6 per class if you came 3 times a week! Books yours now, 3 weeks starts from 1st session. From 20th September new class time slots of Wednesday 8pm with Ellen, Thursdays 10.30am with Michelle, Saturdays 12.15pm with Michelle, Nikki and Stacey
      2.3 weeks of unlimited Studio Fundamentals Classes* for just £60
      3 weeks of unlimited Studio Fundamentals Classes* for just £60

      About the class….

      Pilates is meant to work around the room on apparatus and matwork together. Joe Pilates would work with clients with 5 private sessions, then everyone would move into “open studio” sessions where you practiced 4 times a week on all the apparatus yourself with just some guidance until you earned a new exercise to your repertoire, and Matwork was given as homework for you to practice inbetween the studio sessions.

      We don’t leave you quite like that! But being more independent is key to learning and change – we aren’t there at home! Fundamental sessions have just 4 people for a shared private training feel to learn with careful guidance, support and challenge whilst experiencing independence.

      We recommend Fundamentals classes for everyone for min 5-10 sessions. Learn the orders of Matwork and Reformer, work on fine tuning your needs on roll back bars, breathing bridge, arm springs, small weights and wall endings.

      NB: *Healthy bodies only in group classes. Any back, joint or medically diagnosed issues of new clients should be doing Private Training.

Pilates Pod Team Updates


  • Michelle has been back a long time from maternity leave, come and see her if you haven’t yet. She is now available for longer on Thursdays and Tuesdays too.
  • The Saturday team is now shaping up beautifully with Stacey, Michelle and Nikki. Stacey and Nikki are regular cover teachers over the last several years and now delighted to have them as essential team members. All are apparatus trained.
  • Rufina has gone off on maternity leave. Orli is doing the same in the next couple of weeks. So our new member of the admin team is Kelly. You can see her soon and she is looking forward to meeting you all Monday-Saturday.
  • And of course our pocket-rocket Ellen is still with us, and knocking it out of the park with her wonderfully energising classes and personal training sessions.

Pregnancy and Post Natal Pilates at the Pod

Pregnancy and Post Natal Pilates at The Pilates Pod
Pregnancy and Post Natal Pilates at The Pilates Pod

Did you know we are the only Pilates studio in the area that offers a full circle of care?

Here’s why…

  • We are specialists in Pre and Post natal Pilates, as well as further specialist training in healing for diastasis recti/abdominal separation, caesarean section and pelvic floor issues and prolapse. Don’t suffer alone, book in for private training and we can help you.
  • Are you pregnant? Attend Saturdays 11:00am with the other mums-to-be and work together with your suitable modifications.
  • Unlike anywhere else, continue to use any unused credits after baby is born to attend our post natal class on Mondays 10:30am (within 10 weeks of your baby’s birth)
  • 5 week post natal Matwork Pilates courses (babies are welcome!) is a must do early on after baby is born to get your inside body strong before too much car seat carrying, buggy pushing and baby lifting takes the strain on you weakened body. Forget the running, aerobics and stomach sit ups, get to essential Pilates. Book in early from 6 week post natal midwife check.

Don’t wait too long! YOU ARE IMPORTANT. Most ladies are no longer offered a postnatal check. We recommend getting one privately with a Womens’ health physio if not and getting to our studio for professional help for the recovery for at least 10 sessions then move into regular classes. Postnatal mums can also attend Studio Fundamentals after one course of Post Natal matwork.

Find out more, call 01462 338002 or email the studio

New classes and changes to the timetable from September 2017

Start Pilates Today!
Start Pilates Today!

There are a number of changes to our timetabling that will take effect from September.


Friday lunchtime slot 12:15  -1:00 pm and alternate Mondays 6.15-7pm with Michelle.

You can also find some extra classes on Wednesday 30th August 6:00 – 6:45pm.

This popular class uses the classical piece of apparatus the Small Barrel (and the soon to arrive Spine Correctors) to open your chest and hips, restore the curves of your spine, decompress you and challenge your powerhouse and stability.

A most wonderful essential class for everyone as the antidote to rounded posture, a day at the desk, driving or cycling. This class has a maximum of 6 people.

Studio Fundamentals

Wednesdays 8:00pm, Thursdays 10:30am, Saturdays 12:15pm.

Enjoy the semi-private feel in a group of just 4 people. Take advantage of the unlimited classes offer. Click here for more information about this exciting new class.

Max 4 people per class.

Mat Classes

From September all mat classes will now be multi-level.

That means whether you are relatively new or years of experienced, you can attend any of the mat class times and the level will be your own within the group, your workout, your body, you take ownership.

We work with the bodies we have on the day and tailor the class according, challenging and supporting you as we see necessary. More choices for you, more progress through the repertoire.

Max 10 people per class.

A fond farewell to our Beginners Intro to Pilates Courses…

…which means that you can start anytime! We’ve done away with the course approach, so now all new beginners can now take advantage of 2 intro packages; the 3 PT offer, AND the Unlimited Semi Studio Fundamentals classes. Start anytime and away you go with the essentials under a carefully trained watchful instructor eye!

Start Pilates with us now – email the studio today