I always thought the beauty of Pilates was that it involved nothing more than a mat, kind of like yoga. It was more about core strength and body awareness that machines. There is a pilates studio near my work that has no equipment I can see through the windows and the gym I go to does it with mats only as well. Maybe pilates is like yoga and there are various forms ?
Have you looked into Winsor Pilates tapes or something along those lines that maybe you could do at home without the machine to make sure you will enjoy doing it at home as much as you enjoy the classes. I loved my yoga and pilates classes and found that when I moved and started doing them all alone at home I didn't like it nearly as much.
That aside, I tend to say save the money and get what you want right off the bat rather than buying the cheaper model only to decide you need/want the more expensive model in a few months. I just lectured my husband about this while he was looking at Craftsman Toolboxes :grin:
I really enjoy pilates. However, I have no time to take classes or have the money for the machine. I do have several pilates DVDs which I find to be very useful. I like the fact that I am working my entire body, using just my body.
I also use the Winsor Pilates DVD's. I been using them for 4 years or so, supplementing with a few other things. I have been very happy with the results and how great I feel when I do them on a regular basis. Good for you for starting an exercise program.
I like DVD's too. www.collagevideo.com is a great place to go. Their reviews are great and you can preview sample clips. I started out with Windsor Pilates but she goes a bit slow for me. I also like yoga too!
It's such a great form of exercise, but there are definitely different types of Pilates. Purists who studied under the original Mr. P. may say you must have the machines, but you don't. What you need is the training to isolate your muscles and to do the moves the right way at the right pace (which is why some of the DVDs feel so slow). You can get the training from DVDs and videos, or you can do it really well by investing in a couple of lessons with a private teacher who can demonstrate what your core muscles are supposed to be doing and how they are supposed to feel. Once you learn that, you can do Pilates at home with a DVD (or not). The machines are fine and they may give you extra motivation (plus something to trip over when you're going to the bathroom at night), but it's really your body that does the work.