BOOK REVIEW: Pilates An Interactive Workbook by Christina Maria Gadar

Book Review: Pilates An Interactive Workbook by Christina Maria Gadar

Received one morning on vacation in Paris:

Hi Andrea,
I was wondering if you would like me to send you a copy of “Pilates An Interactive Workbook.” 
Warmest wishes,
Christina Maria Gadar

Pilates An Interactive Workbook is a wonderful new book by Christina Maria Gadar. I had been secretly wanting this book since it was released on August 29, 2013.

Good-fortune hovers closeby when in a magical city.

Need. More. Christina.

Christina Maria Gadar is one of my favorite Pilates practitioners. She completed her rigorous Pilates training under Joseph Pilates' protégée and Grand Master Instructor Romana Kryzanowska in 2000. She operates a world-class Pilates studio in Sarasota, Florida.

Should you be a Sarasota local I highly recommend you stop by for a lesson.

Although we have not met in person I have the highest regard and admiration for her thoughtful social media postings. The high standards of her studio are evident in her flawless videos, each featuring a different Pilates apparatus. She is a shining example of a connected and precise transition.

Have a look:

She nimbly zips up the mountain like a sprite in Mountain Climb on the Wunda Chair.

Calm focus is about her as she busts out even Swakate on the Arm Chair. It becomes an elegant exercise. Even as I watch I can feel its deliciousness…

BOOK REVIEW: Pilates An Interactive Workout by Christina Maria GadarSpeedy Delivery

The book arrived the very day she said it would, one day after my return from Europe.

It was bigger and more weighty than I expected and really said ‘serious.'

She even signed it – another fun surprise!

Although book reviews are not my usual style of posts, the idea for this review was entirely mine. Christina said she would be very happy for me to review it.

“I know there is no guarantee of a positive review, and I prefer it that way.”

Alignment trumps all. 

Pilates An Interactive Workbook sports the perfect tagline:

BOOK REVIEW: Pilates An Interactive Workbook by Christina Maria Gadar

Her POV – and indeed the POV of the Pilates Method itself – are in perfect alignment.

Oh gosh, I needed that pun.

A place for everything and everything in its place…

Christina has created a Pilates workbook that is part Exercise Manual and even more importantly part Exercise Journal. A place to keep all your thoughts, notes, corrections, etc… on a given exercise for handy reference.

Often the process of writing down the notes can help to cement them in the mind. Christina also wisely suggests that you write all your notes in pencil, “as your notes will change as your body changes.

There is no end to learning Pilates. Learn to savor each moment and each progression in your Pilates education. Then you will find yourself getting to the heart of the method.

The intended purpose of Pilates An Interactive Workbook is plainly stated. In bold, mind you.

“Please remember that this book is meant only for those who are already students of a certified Pilates instructor. Pilates cannot be learned from a book or video – only from a teacher.”

The italics are Christina's.

The Heart and Soul of the Method

All of the fundamental Pilates exercises on the Mat and the Reformer are in attendance. If the Reformer is at the heart of Pilates, the Matwork is surely the soul of the Method.

The Matwork is divided into a ‘basic' and an ‘intermediate' system. Also included are additional series aimed at the Pilates client/home exerciser which require only a small prop or a wall: Magic Circle exercises, Standing Arm Weights and the Wall series. Huzzah!

The Reformer section includes both fundamental as well as more challenging exercises such as Teaser, Semi-Circle and Side Splits. It is again a solid group of exercises on the Reformer that Pilates teachers use daily when working with nearly every client.

In the above photo you can see a sample of the page layout that is used throughout the book. This kind of organization is appealing to me. Nearly half to three-quarters of every left-hand page is reserved for your notes and observations on each particular exercise.

The thought of having all of my notes on the Backstroke together in one place is practically more excitement than I stand. Over time some notes would replace others of course, but collecting all of the notes would allow you to see what is improving over time, and what notes you got the very first time that you are still getting today…


Get ready, here's another one.


I'm someone who's nerdy about the details.

The above photo also shows the ‘Detail' section located on many of the bottom left-hand pages. Christina is pictured here demonstrating the transition into the Corkscrew. Other Detail sections examine correct placement, show other secure and effective transitions between exercises and include tips for proficiency.

It's almost like having a teacher with you.

Imagine that.

Pilates for Life 

A large Detail section delineates the the various parts of the Reformer apparatus itself: head rest, carriage, the well, leather straps, etc… This section deserves to be quoted in its entirety:

In addition to being familiar with your individual workout routine on the Reformer, it is important to be familiar with the set-up of the Pilates apparatus. Knowing the set-up for each exercise will enhance your concentration and self-efficiency. It will also reinforce the proper techniques necessary for lifting, bending and and reaching. Before you know it, you will find yourself incorporating Pilates into every minute of your day.

Another gem:

The Reformer section does not begin at the Footwork Series. It starts with the very first moment of the workout: Lying down on the Reformer Apparatus. It is given the same prominence, value and design layout as every one of the exercises. Boom.

Pilates teachers everywhere are thanking you 🙂

A must for the self-proclaimed Pilates Nerd and enthusiast of all stripes, Pilates An Interactive Workbook clearly communicates the ideas and skills inherent and crucial to success in the Pilates Method:

  • Quality over quantity.
  • The imperative of learning a new exercise with a trained instructor before doing it on your own.
  • Practicing at home to make the most of your investment in Pilates lessons and take true ownership of your workout.
  • The Pilates Method is a complete system.

I am very happy to have this book. And to put it to good use. My Swan on the Barrel page is filling up!!

For more information on Christina Maria Gadar visit her at Gadar Pilates.

Book Review: Pilates An Interactive Workbook by Christina Maria Gadar

Do you own this book? How has it informed your own Pilates practice? Share your thoughts and join the conversation.

You can order the book for your favorite Pilates student here. (Even if it's you.)

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