Starting out on your Pilates journey...
So you thought about starting Pilates or your medical professional has told you it would be a good idea but what happens in a Pilates class?
We work mainly from a mat, and often we start focusing on our breathing. Why do we do this? The simple answer is firstly to prepare your body for more work and to get it really focused on the movement you are performing. We also use the breath to create the movement and stability that our body needs to work within the Pilates system. We tend not to hold or grip as that creates a lot of tension in our bodies, instead we use the breath to create fluidity. Exercises are performed lying down on our backs, side and front to ensure we have worked around the whole body. We also add in some standing work as balance is very important for all of us!
In every foundation course we work on the basics, as it is through the mastery of simple exercises and controlled movement that the body will get stronger and any postural imbalances can start to be sorted out. Once the basics are under control then we can add in more of the Pilates vocabulary, if it is appropriate for your own body.
You have probably heard people say Pilates is good for 'the core'. We always work from the centre of our body outwards and movements become more expansive as we become more experienced and are able to control movement from the centre.
Alignment is king - yes really, and key to performing every exercise effectively and safely is to know your alignment is correct. That's why classes are very small in number as it is critical that I can correct your alignment in its static position before you start the exercise as well as in its dynamic form whilst you are moving.
We don't do hundreds of repetitions of any movement - instead just 8-10 repetitions of any movement is enough. You may hear or read a lot about quantity being the way to get x,y or z... but actually that can be a fast track way for many people to gain an injury as they are often focusing on one part of their body and overusing or straining a particular set of muscles.
Do expect to work - how you feel will vary considerably as we are all different. Some exercises you will like immediately and others may be more work. As a general rule, you should be feeling work but never pain. If something doesn't feel right you must say so that the exercise can be adapted for you.
Wear clothes that are comfortable for you to move in but not so baggy that I can't see your alignment. Layers are good as there may be points in the class where you are warmer due to the exercises you are performing. As with any exercise system, bring a bottle of water and make sure you drink water after class too!
Its important to remember that everybody is different. Pilates is not competitive, instead you work to your own ability. Slow and steady will win the day for everyone! You will find that Pilates classes are very friendly groups, comprised of people of different age ranges, abilities and interests. Groups are supportive as everyone is working to their own goals.
With time and your commitment Pilates really will help change your life for the better, whatever your goal!
Happy 2018 and I look forward to seeing you soon!