If you have never done Pilates then you may feel a little daunted on what a Pilates class might well involve. Read on to find out…
Often when people think of Pilates classes they think of super stretchy, bendy people in leggings and crop tops. A very expensive, inclusive exercise form for famous people, yummy mummies and old ladies. I can tell I’m selling it to you already!
In the early days, Joseph Pilates, actually worked with more dancers, which often included men, today however we seem to have the above in our heads.
It’s often compared and likened to yoga, and there is some similarities yes, but also some very distinct differences. Yoga is a very ancient from of movement and meditation, which has many different forms. Most focus on getting into and out of various poses, either holding or moving dynamically depending on the type. There is lot of focus on breath and some will look further into the mindfulness and meditation side of the practice.
In a Pilates class this is the opposite.
The flow of a class
During a Pilates class, we are often still for very little of a class. The movements make us move constantly, with few rest periods in between. We focus more on a dynamic stretch, for those familiar think spine stretch and the saw. Our aim is to challenge our control of the centre muscles. Mainly the deep abdominals and pelvic floor, in conjunction with other deeper muscles and then the limbs and bigger muscles. Our focus is to get the spine to move in all directions and without restriction and compensation. This is mainly why it is used in a rehabilitation setting.
If you scroll through the likes of Instagram, you will usually come across some very impressive movements, especially on the machines such as the cadillac and reformer. These are all well and good but don’t reflect a lot of what actually happens in a class. For the normal person these movements are even on the radar, or at least not yet! Most of the movements are challenging enough in their basic forms, The control, precision and concentration to execute even the simplest of looking movements is what makes Pilates unique.
Less is more
With the above in mind, some of the movements are often very small. This where the subtlety of our muscles is really key. Tuning into what our bodies do when we ask them, trying to get muscles to switch on or off or control them in a small range is really something else. Sometimes more impressive than lifting a heavy weight!
We are all unique
During a Pilates class, you may notice difference people doing different things and at a different pace. This is because we are all unique, no two bodies are the same. Pilates allows you to work to your body, to focus on what it needs and not just keeping up with every one else. Some people need more, some less and some something different entirely!
It’s not stuffy
We have a laugh in our classes! I encourage talking and questions and not to take yourself too seriously. There is nothing wrong with ENJOYING your class and movements.
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