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Around the room everyone's eyes lit up in my Pilates class when our instructor broke the news that Pippa was a fan. We'd all watched the wedding, seen the bottom and were ready to get one for ourselves.

The principal of Pilates is simple, it's a series of floor and standing exercises, as well as breathing exercises, designed to improve muscle tone, increase flexibility, improve posture, overall strength and wellbeing. The brainchild of German Joseph Pilates, it was created back in the 1920s when Pilates developed the series of exercises to help injured WW1 soldiers.

By practising Pilates two to three times a week the discipline's founder promises: "You will feel better in 10 sessions, look better in 20 sessions and have a completely new body in 30 sessions."

Patricia Nealon and Maeve Flanagan, both in their 40s, have been taking the class, led by Christie Seaver of D4Pilates.com for four years. "I definitely feel my shape has changed," says Maeve. "I feel the class is great and Christie keeps changing the routines."

"I'm more flexible and of course we all have Pippa bums," laughs Patricia.

Sixty-something Joan Brittan started five years ago because she hated the idea of the gym. "It's an enjoyable way to exercise and I find my posture, breathing and shape have all improved," she says.

"I miss it if I go on holidays," says Joan.

"I always leave feeling great," agrees Julia Wakeham (31).

"You can definitely change your shape with Pilates," explains Christie.

"It's usually after about four months I see people coming in saying that friend's have commented on them looking better so Pilates' Promise is right -- after 20 sessions you'll see the difference!"

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