Started by Joseph Pilates back in the early 1900s, Pilates is a century old proven exercise that is still practiced widely today. It is a set of exercises that focuses on strengthening your core muscles and improving your flexibility. In fact, it is the Pilates workouts that have helped Joseph Pilates to grow from a physically weak and sickly child to a strong and healthy adult.Pilates is known to benefit practitioners well beyond the physical body. It is claimed to be able to calm one’s mind and stabilize one’s emotions. This may be due to the slow movement of Pilates workout routines coupled with controlled breathing that soothes one’s nervous system. In this way you not only become stronger but also feel better after every Pilates workout.So is the gym the only place you can practice Pilates?Practicing Pilates at the gym definitely has a lot of benefits to offer. Firstly the gym will usually provide you with mid to professional grade Pilates mat that you can comfortably perform your exercises on. Secondly they have certified Pilates instructors that can provide you with professional guidance and correct you on the spot when you are doing it wrong. The only downside to doing it at the gym is that it is very costly. This is mainly because the membership fees will include the rental of the studio space as well as hiring the Pilates instructor for your class.But the gym is definitely not the only place you can do your Pilates exercises. In fact, you can just do it at home without compromising too much on the quality of the workout.Doing your Pilates workout at home has its advantages. Firstly you save time and money traveling to the gym for your Pilates class. Secondly you can do it at your own comfortable pace and will not be embarrassed if you can’t execute some of the moves. Thirdly you can do it at any time of the day when you are free and don’t have to stick to a fixed class schedule. With the right routines and equipment, you too can achieve a gym-quality Pilates workout from the comfort of your home.So what are the right routines and equipment you should look out for when considering to do Pilates at home?There are many different types of Pilates workouts using different combinations of routines and equipment. The recommended exercise for home Pilates will be the Pilates mat work (also known as Pilates mat workout or Pilates mat exercise). The Pilates mat work is very affordable due to the lack of need for any heavy, costly or specialized equipment (such as the reformer). All it requires is just a Pilates mat, where you can get it off a local departmental store or an online shop, some loose clothing, and a Pilates DVD for the guidance.Pilates mat exercises can be easy or hard depending on your level. There are basic routines designed for beginners and patients recovering from injuries, and there are the challenging routines that the advanced practitioners will appreciate. Thus, selecting a Pilates DVD of the correct level is very important. Always look out for an indication of the difficulty level on the DVD cover or search for reviews online before you buy so that you will not waste your money. One good way to find out is to look for the author or actor or actress name or the DVD title on YouTube. Usually they will share a few basic instructional videos on YouTube for free as part of their promotional efforts. In this way you can gauge if the level of difficulty suits you before you buy their DVD.