We picked our Pilates teacher's brains about how to get the most from your practice. Here are their top tips....
Find a teacher you connect with
A teacher who focuses on the basic principles in a beginners class is essential to help you get a proper introduction to the subtleties of Pilates and give you a solid foundation on which you can build.
Be realistic and think positively
You may dream of achieving a body like Pilates devotes Meghan Markle or Madonna, and it’s helpful to have a vision to aim for, but knowing your starting point and maintaining a growth mindset is far more powerful. Shala teacher Kelly Balmer suggests "really be honest with yourself about your body’s strengths, weaknesses and needs, and maintain the belief that these strengths and weaknesses are not fixed and that with practice you can change them".
It is important to practice appropriately challenging exercises, and not fast track to the hardest exercises. Consistent and regular practice yields much better results. Teacher Diveen Henry says "You need to be patient and regular in your practice of Pilates to achieve your goals. Sometimes the exercises you find most difficult may be the best medicine for you – so persevere!"
Some discomfort is likely to be a part of working your body in new ways, but listen to your body carefully, and with discipline and attention to detail you will gain strength, flexibility, improved posture and better breathing.
Do not compare
Teacher Michelle Murray says "We all have our own unique strengths and weakness, our own story and length of time in the practice. Its important to work at our own pace and try to avoid comparisons to gauge how you're doing.
Believe me just being there you're doing great!!"
Practice Pilates on a regular basis to really get the most impact. Turn off your mobile, tune out from distractions, and try to take some quiet time for yourself regularly. It will help you to feel more relaxed and spacious in the rest of your day.
Pilates is a slow, flowing exercise, speeding it up will not make it better, in fact, taking more time over an exercise will probably make it feel a bit more challenging and increase its level of difficulty and yield better results.
Don't get too hung up on the breathing patterns to start with. A good tip if you're completely new to Pilates is to get a feel for the movement patterns first, breath freely and when you feel a little more comfortable with what you're doing start to layer in the breathing patterns given.
Even if you don't get it right to start with remember its a "practice" that will come with time.
Our Pilates team offer fun dynamic classes on a daily basis - find out more about our Pilates Level 1, Level 2 and All-level classes. Our team design classes to help respond to your individual needs whether it is for back pain, injury rehabilitation, pre- or post-natal needs or to help you condition your body to improve performance as a dancer, athlete or other activities. Our teachers are always happy to discuss and advise on individual issues so feel free to chat to them before or after classes.