Have you been thinking about starting Pilates lately? Maybe you’ve heard about the many benefits that Pilates brings, but the thought of actually joining a class conjures up images that fill you with dread, leaving your palms sweaty, and a sudden urge to reach for the Ben and Jerrys….
Ok, time to stop. Take stock. Pilates isn’t that effective at weight loss as other cardio exercises such as running or a game of tennis, so each time you think about joining a class and end up staring into the fridge or freezer you could be heading for trouble.
Pilates will help you to develop lean muscle, tone up and improve your posture. The way you move, sit, or walk will change your appearance, for good. Think Bridget Bardot, rather than Bridget Jones (and for guys, just think Beckham).
But I get it. Joining a Pilates class for the first time can be scary. Will you fit in? What do you bring? What if you don’t actually have a core? …. This is a great place to start! Right outside of your comfort zone. It’s where life, new experiences and surprises happen. And you may well be surprised about what you find there...
Pilates participants are just like you and me. Pretty normal. Ok well, most of them. There are some that really would benefit from slowing down a little as they continue to attack the exercises like they are still on the treadmill (which is why taking a class after some cardio is such a great mix).
After teaching Pilates for many moons -17 years to be exact, I have seen (and heard) it all. I continue to get enormous pleasure from hearing the difference it makes to members of all ages. And its not just a physical difference I see. There’s the social aspect I notice too. Friendships are formed, laughter is shared, smiles are exchanged and 'catch ups' over coffee (and even cake) take place afterward. Strengthening your core also strengthens your sense of community and belonging. So what is there to lose in giving a course a go?
I tend to categorise Pilates classes as ‘beginner’ or ‘improver’ level because it helps people to decide the most appropriate session for them to attend. The problem with this however is that people generally want to attend classes that work with their schedule, not their level of experience. This is why, as an instructor I use my layering skills to deliver the exercises; teaching the easiest variations first and adding only one progression at time. This way everyone can continue following the progressions until their individual challenge point is reached.
If you join a beginner course, you can expect to be coached with beginner level exercises with progressions offered to a standard that would have you ready to progress to an intermediate level. If you demonstrate the capability to progress further, I will offer you a progression individually within the class (at which point you will become an instant inspiration for others of course, and you will even be shocked and surprised at your very own brilliance!).
It is preferable, but not essential to have at least 6 months experience to attend an improver course. This is to: a) Prevent the ‘devil of discouragement’ from putting you off ever coming back, and b) Avoid injuries. Within this class, I layer on progressions starting from the easiest variations, to advanced levels offered to the whole group. If you demonstrate that you aren’t using the right muscles or joint actions, I will offer you modifications individually in order to regain your alignment and control. There can be no ‘faking it until you make it' here. Precision of movement with the right muscles doing the right job is key for ‘Contrology’ as Pilates himself termed it.
My interest as an instructor is to ensure that everyone is challenged according to their capability, have fun, and are able to improve their form with each class. All this happens by leaving the ego outside of the studio, laying aside worries about what you may look like, and embracing the challenge. So are you ready to take the leap? You’ll be pleased you did. I can guarantee it.
New Pilates Courses are starting in Box, Melksham and Colerne, week commencing 24th Feb for beginners and improvers alike, and run term time. All equipment is provided. Booking is required. Payment secures your mat. There's no time like the present to step out and start something new today.