I tore my ACL into three pieces when I was 16. Because I had a terrible surgeon, I spent most of my senior knee in an immobilizer. The terrible job done by the second rate hack surgeon came back to roost in 2003, when I had to have two surgeries to fix the damage: the first to remove all the horrible hardware the initial surgeon put in (most too large for my bone structure) and to band the bones from all of the fractures, and the second to reconstruct the knee ligaments as best as the new knee surgeon could. All of this knee talk is to say that I initially found out about Pilates’ system of Contrology in my 20’s, when I went looking for an exercise regimen I could participate in between those two surgeries. I found Pilates’ system when I went looking for something that was “little to no impact” ( to help me after so much injury) while still being effective.
Once I had taken my search to the internet to figure out the best sort of exercises (trust me this was a weird approach in 2003), I stumbled on the work of Joseph Pilates. The more I read, the more I knew that his system was the sort of exercise I wanted to try, and after consulting with my knee surgeon and physical therapist I was certain. If you want to learn Pilates’ system of exercise, you absolutely should (and do check with those medical professionals!), because you might love it for the same reasons I do.
Nearly no equipment = relatively cheap hobby.
I have a beautiful mat (I think). Other than that, I bring myself to the mat. I have a video that I’ve bought four times now, of some great soloists performing the exercises, but other than that, I haven’t invested any money in Pilates. You can absolutely go the route of going to the studio. I might one day seek out one of the lineages instructors, but I don’t feel a pressing need to do so — the exercises are straight forward. Plus, these days we have Youtube, and you can actually just watch Romana Kryzanowska lead a class and talk about Pilates.
But — once you understand the exercises and their order you don’t even need a video!