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The Pilates Magic Circle: Prop or Apparatus?

Pilates is a methodology that requires a constant conversation from the mind to the body.

To reap the benefits of Pilates, the mind must become the strongest muscle telling the body to follow, but that strength varies depending on our client’s ability. So, how could we help build a connection that makes choreography more accessible or enhance connection through the center for advanced movers?

*From my Props to Learn and Burn with FREEposium!

PROPS and APPARATUS, but, more specifically, The Magic Circle!

Joseph Pilates was a pinnacle of holistic movement, as well as a resourceful inventor. He constructed the first “Magic Circle” out of the metal ring around a keg and two wooden blocks on the sides. That should be our first clue the Magic Circle was created for a bit of pain and pleasure.

Personally, I call it the Magic Ring of Death. It has a wondrous ability to bring you into center while making your bones quiver. Nothing makes me appreciate low reps with intense focus like the Magic Circle.

How does the Magic Circle work?

The Magic Circle acts as a tool to connect the extremities towards center and close the movement chain through contact. Every exercise in the Pilates repertoire has at least one “anchor” that we stabilize weight through as the body moves through space. Our goal as educators is to teach to the stabilizer and incorporate the Magic Circle to ensure the client’s movement goals fall into place.

Educators utilize props as an opportunity to inform client’s sensory and motor skills and increase proprioception. Props also bring the challenge. Expect some light to heavy swearing depending on the exercise’s difficulty.

The apparatus (and springs) act as an extension of our physical body by allowing us to resist gravity and stand into the apparatus. We master controlling the opposition between the core, lower body, and upper body. Resulting in the integration of the body's movement with the apparatus.

Is the Magic Circle a prop OR a piece of apparatus? Truth Bomb: It's BOTH.

The Magic Ring of Death is a prop that can inform, support, and challenge the connection to choreography, AND act as a bodily extension that forces us to resist gravity.


Time to translate words on a screen to movement in our bodies. Let’s think about how to use the Magic Circle as a prop and piece of apparatus with the Hundred, one our foundational Pilates exercises.

My fellow movers, shakers, and educators, come join me on the mat to apply these insights with my #FBomb Advanced Mat + Magic Circle Workout and Workshop!

This is a full advanced mat workout with the Magic Circle to highlight the duality of the Magic Circle and get fancy. The Advanced Mat + Magic Circle Workshop streams live on Friday, February 12th with a Q&A discussion after to ask any burning questions and ensure you feel ready to tackle the MC. The workshop replay will be available for purchase with a full year to observe, work it out and improve your Pilates practice.

There’s still time to purchase the entire 2021 #FBomb Workshop bundle at early bird pricing with full 365 day access to each replay! If you're not ready to take advantage of that awesome deal, you can always purchase each workshop individually.


Looking for more Pilates tips and tricks?

The Pilates 804 Online Studio has apparatus workshops, Pilates principle courses, and virtual classes all at your fingertips to help you on your movement and teaching journey.

Subscribe to the list like the Cool Kids! Get access to my thoughts, studio updates, and the FREEposiums directly to your inbox to watch whenever you’d like.


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