Most people think the apparatus is more advanced than the mat – but, actually, the reverse is true in many ways.
Joe Pilates designed his equipment to SUPPORT the body through the exercises – giving you a feel for the proper form and providing resistance for you to engage against.
The Mat provides no resistance – it’s just you, the mat, and gravity. Bodyweight exercises tend to be surprisingly challenging because it is harder to cheat…you really have to hold yourself up!
Another difference is that because the equipment gives resistance, it can, at times, help tone your muscles faster. That is not to say, however, that you wouldn’t get results from the matwork, and many people prefer the mat because they can take what they learn in class and try it at home.
What’s better for you? There’s no clear answer or way to categorize people. Your best option is to start with a PRIVATE SESSION, and work one on one with an experienced professional instructor to best diagnose what you need.