Joseph Pilates, the German-born athlete and physical therapy pioneer, didn’t teach group classes. It was only on the rare occasion that he would use the mat work in a group setting. His studio was primarily a series of on-going semi-privates. Over the last 20 years, Pilates has experienced the explosion on a global level and it has now become common to see group Pilates classes on offer. Having said that, Classical Pilates group classes should still be a fairly intimate setting, with no more than 8 in a class. Now that you have the opportunity to join group Pilates classes the question arises, how can you get the most out of your group class?
First of all, it helps to have health goals in mind in order to stay motivated. The benefits of Pilates are numerous, such as increased lung capacity and circulation, strength and flexibility, coordination – both muscular and mental, as well as posture, balance, and core strength are all heartily increased. With all that in mind, making goals that are more personal to you is what is going to get you out of bed and into that morning class or leave work on time to get to the evening class because you’ve made that commitment to yourself. For me, I know that I feel my best when I’m strong, agile, mentally present and energized – everything I feel after I’ve done Pilates. This feeling is what has kept me coming back to class for the last 15 years!
Get there early! I can’t highlight this enough! It’s important to meet the instructor, introduce yourself and ask any questions and have the equipment explained to you. Because Pilates group classes don’t allow huge numbers to attend, there is a more personal relationship between you and the instructor and rather than just being a face in a large crowd, the instructor would like to get an understanding of your body/movement history, if you have any injuries (and if Holly is your instructor, where you got your cool leggings from – slight obsession of gym clothing!)
Have an open mind. If you have never done Pilates before it is very different to other forms of exercise. It is not just about your body but how your mind and your body connect. The instructors teach by verbal cues and instruction only, never by doing the class with the students.
“Pilates is gaining the mastery of your mind over the complete control over your body.” Joseph Pilates
Last but not least, be consistent. Rome wasn’t built in a day and it also wasn’t a half-assed job! Classical Pilates is layered and structured as a system that requires progressive learning and mastery. Turn up, give it your best, and if you can do this a few times a week, enjoy the amazing benefits that Pilates has to offer!
“The Pilates Method teaches you to be in control of your body and not at its mercy.” – Joseph Pilates