New Year New You? How to find your perfect Pilates class

Walking into a Pilates studio for the first time can be a daunting experience. A quick glance around the room might reveal a variety of odd looking contraptions and machinery whose purpose seems frankly torturous. But fear not! The machines themselves are fun to use once you understand them. Despite unusual names like the ‘’Reformer’’, ‘’Tower’’ and ‘’Wunda chair’’ all the springs, bars, straps, and pulleys come together as a very refined, body-friendly group of exercise equipment. Pilates workouts are based either on the Pilates mat work, which is done on the floor with a minimum of equipment, or on Pilates apparatus i.e. those weird looking contraptions. Matwork

Pilates Matwork
Pilates Matwork

The mat work is a great place to begin. All of the fundamental movements and Pilates exercise principles are incorporated in the mat exercises. Mat work can be adapted to any fitness level, and it is nice to focus on learning the basics correctly. The mat exercises will help you quickly gain a lot of strength and confidence in the Pilates method. We normally recommend that you start with our Introduction to Pilates course – a 5 week long course (or the Intensive Intro workshops) designed to introduce all of the basic principles and to teach you about breathing, posture and alignment as well as introducing many of the foundation exercises and movements. Equipment

Pilates Reformer
Pilates Reformer

Whether you start in a matwork class or in 121 sessions, you will be taught the basic principles to ensure that you can move and perform Pilates exercises safely. Learning to use the Pilates machinery opens up a whole new level of body awareness and use. The machines use springs, pulleys and bars to create resistance which your body can work with. They also provide support and assist the body to perform movements and assume postures/positions that it can’t usually achieve. What to Bring to a Pilates Class: You won’t need to bring much with you to the Pilates studio. We provide all the mats and any equipment you might use during a class. You can bring a drink of water, or make sure that you are hydrated before your session. Soft comfortable clothing that you can move in and a pair of socks are the only requisite! In safe hands Not all classes/teachers are created equal! As the popularity continues to grow there are plenty on the Pilates bandwagon. But we advise a note of caution when choosing where you go for Pilates instruction – particularly if you have any back, joint or muscular issues or a very low level of fitness. Pilates is a scientific and detailed system of exercise. It is essential that you learn from a Pilates instructor who really understands and communicates the exercises well. All Pilates teachers at the Equilesse Pilates Studio are Body Control Pilates trained and accredited ensuring that you will be in safe hands. At Equilesse Pilates Studio we run small group matwork classes – up to a maximum of 8 people to ensure close personal attention and safe practice.

Check Qualificiations
Check Qualificiations

Backed by leading physiotherapists, chiropractors and osteopaths, the Body Control Pilates method has been developed from Joseph Pilates’ original work and teaches good movement skills step by step. No other Pilates system has such a safe and progressive approach. It is suitable for all ages and all levels of fitness. The Body Control Pilates Association (BCPA) is widely seen as Europe’s foremost professional body for Pilates teachers. All members work to a code of practice, which governs teaching standards, professional ethics and continuing education. BCPA instructors undergo stringent training, which includes approximately 100 hours tuition in anatomy and Pilates theory followed by exams. At the end of the formal tuition period, trainee teachers must undertake a minimum of 50 hours of supervised teaching before they are given qualification. You can be sure that any teacher qualified with the BCPA has an excellent understanding of the method. This level of professional training and progressive approach has won Body Control Pilates the respect and support of leading medical bodies and sports associations. So the key points to consider when choosing your Pilates class/session: – What kind of qualification/experience does the teacher have? Given that many people are advised to take up Pilates following injury/operation or as part of a joint health maintenance programme it is vital that the teacher you entrust your body to has the depth of understanding to work with you. Teachers using studio equipment should have additional qualifications enabling them to teach both matwork and the machines. – How many participants are in the class? In a large group you are unlikely to get close personal attention and may well be at risk of injury if you are not performing exercises properly. Also it will be hard to progress without some hands-on and close instruction! – Are the classes aimed at specific levels of ability? If you are in a widely mixed ability class it can prove difficult to learn the basics and keep up if you are a beginner and can be frustrating if you are more experienced but can’t progress. Classes that have a graded approach, allowing you to learn and improve term by term are likely to have most benefit. – Is equipment such as mats/head cushions etc provided for you? The right equipment, even for a matwork class is important. We all have different spines/skeletons and may require slightly different amounts of support/cushioning to help achieve alignment. This isn’t something that should be left down to you. – Have you been asked to complete an enrolment/medical form? As a matter of course and for safety purposes any professional teacher/studio will require you to complete a basic medical/enrolment form when you enrol,. This is to ensure that any serious medical issues or injuries can be screened and addressed ahead of the class if need be. It provides an outline level of information which the teacher can use to make sure that class/exercise programme is suitable for all attendees. Hopefully by asking the above questions you’ll get a clearer idea of what kind of class and teaching experience you can expect and feel more confident about the experience and benefit you’ll get as a result!




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