Re: Aikido & Pilates
Hi Ron -
1) First of all, the exercises are subtle enough that it's really important that one gets detailed instruction first - and gets some expertise. I'm quite fortunate in that my wife-to-be is a gyrotonic instructor, so I do have one of the professional units at home, and can work out with her instruction.
2) There are a number of pieces of equipment, with specialized exercises for each. The core unit is the "tower." The "actual" unit is only sold to certified trainers.
3) There is a "home unit" - I don't like it because it uses a spring system rather than the pulleys, which are more expensive to make. Springs have variable tension along their length (LOOK EXPERTS: I may be not exactly right here - I don't know physics either!). The result is that when you are at the moment of greatest extension (and vulnerability), the springs pull harder. One has to be mindful as to not get hurt, which is antithetical to the freedom the movements should/can give.
So, truth be told, I'd recommend working out at a studio. Many people do twice a week.
P.S. I'm going to be at Mechanicsburg the end of February - a two-day open seminar on Saturday and Sunday 2/26/27. Will you be able to come up. Be happy to talk with you more about this stuff then.