4 ways to get the most out of a pilates class
Are you a pilates regular? Perhaps you've never tried pilates before? We spoke to Laura Mason of Unwind Pilates Studio about how to get the most out of your pilates classes.
Find a studio that will nurture you the way you need to be nurtured.
There are two options when it comes to taking a pilates class:
1. A group class where everyone is doing the same exercise at the same time; these are generally performed on the mat or on reformers.
2. Studio classes — each client has their own program for their specific needs and classes are perfumed on the Reformer, Trapeze table and Wunda chair plus other fun pieces of equipment.
If you’re relatively fit, have good body awareness, no current injuries and are not really early postnatal, then the group setting may be a good choice. If you want more attention or have specific goals or have recently had a baby, then the studio setting is your best bet. Yes, the classes cost more but you get the trained eyes of your instructor on you — guiding you towards your goals.
Above all else, just breathe.
So often when clients start pilates, instructors (including myself) talk too much and give too many instructions. Clients are having to think about this body part, and those abs, and the actual exercises and the order of breathing. Sometimes it’s best to just ignore the instructor, just for a moment, and move while breathing like you’re walking down the street. You’re not going to break if you breathe in, instead of out. As the moves become familiar you will have the bandwidth to learn the pattern of breath. Just keep breathing.
This story is about control.
It seems that Janet Jackson was a fan of control just as much as Joe Pilates. One of the guiding principles of pilates is control. Often when you’re starting, that means slow and steady movements using your core to keep most of you still while something moves. For example, keeping the torso and pelvis still while moving one leg in a circular motion. The springs are not always that heavy but the goal is to move with constant tension in them. As you get stronger and your body awareness increases, the exercises become more challenging, fluidity increases and your body starts to change.
Make a commitment to yourself.
Pilates is not going to change you overnight. Nothing will. However, with consistent practice you can increase strength, improve flexibility and feel great in your body, regardless of what your starting point is. It is gentle enough for when you’re nursing a newborn or dealing with an acute injury and once you’re ready for it, challenging enough to even get someone like Sylvester Stallone sweating.
You won’t regret starting Pilates. I am biased but once you get it, you get it.
Want to move with me? I teach online classes and will be launching an exciting new online program soon. For hints and tips and mini workouts, follow me on my socials:
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