Frequently Asked Questions:
As a fully certified pilates teacher and owner of two studios for 16 years and a teacher trainer for 12 years, I have been able to work with myriad of clientele and can address most questions and concerns that arise. Here are common questions that get asked, and answers to clarify things for you.
Q: Don't I have to be in good shape to start Pilates?
A: There are no fitness requisites to doing pilates except that you are able to make it in the door to the studio. Pilates was developed in order to help people who had infirmities, and then was later discovered by athletes and dancers. In my teaching, I have worked with people with Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease, replaced hips and knees, fused thoracic spines, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic pain, scoliosis, as well as quadriplegics, and people who after years of being inactive, wanted to find a healthy activity they could stick with. On the other hand, I have also trained Olympian gymnasts, competitive ice skaters and marathon runners who, although already quite fit, all find Pilates to be of great benefit to their bodies in their disciplines.
Q: How often do I have to do Pilates to get any benefits?
A: Ideally, you are practicing your Pilates 3 times a week. Students normally take lessons 1-3 times a week, and then practice their matwork at home in between lessons. When you first begin, 2 lessons a week is recommended. If you only take Pilates once a week, you will still benefit, but obviously, it takes longer to understand and progress. It is not harmful to do Pilates every day, if you are so inspired, as muscles do not need recovery days between sessions.
Q: Isn't Pilates all about stretching?
A: No, Pilates is about finding a balance and efficiency in your body. If you are very bound, you will learn to use your muscles in a different way, and that may feel like stretching. If you are very flexible, you will asked to actively engage muscles so that you only stretch as far as you can truly control your body. When you are first learning the exercises and learning to pay attention to your entire body, you may move slowly, but as you progress, the exercises require more organization in less time and the lesson can become quite aerobic.
Q: Shouldn't I start with a mat class, and then when I get better, move on to private lessons?
A: If your are able, you should always start with private lessons. That way, your individual needs can be addressed from the beginning and the mat work you learn will be specific to you, and not just from a class list of exercises. Joseph Pilates invented his apparatus because so many people were not able to understand the mat work enough to benefit from it. So, the apparatus exercises in private lessons are meant to help develop your body awareness and even out your imbalances. That way, at home, you are more able to approach your mat work correctly for your own body.