OK, you’re ready to transform your body with Pilates but not sure how to find a good class. Learning Pilates is like learning a new language. It’s going to be much more effective and beneficial if you go to a great teacher.
Since anyone can call themselves a Pilates Instructor these days, it’s good to know what to look for.
How do you find one? Here’s a secret… they’re usually hanging out at great Pilates studios.
First, if you’ve never stepped foot in a Pilates studio, don’t panic. The equipment can be intimidating at first glance and remind you a bit of a torture chamber but I promise it won’t feel that way.
Pilates equipment has springs that provide proprioceptive feedback to your fascia, muscles, and joints that can help “turn on” more efficient movement patterns. Your body and brain will love it so let’s find the perfect studio for you.
8 step checklist to finding a great Pilates studio:
Be aware if you're allowed to jump into a group class without a private session.
Most Pilates studios require 1-3 private sessions for new clients before you can join a group class not only for safety reasons but to get you the best results. This will also include new clients who have taken Pilates before as every studio and instructor’s teaching style is different.
Investing in a private session with an experienced Pilates Instructor is totally worth it.
Great Pilates instructors typically go to private sessions with an experienced instructor to get regular tune ups. Even though they know the exercises, there’s nothing like having someone’s expert eyes on you while you go through the movements.
Your Pilates Instructor doesn’t have to look like a ballerina but they need to know the exercises and be passionate about teaching them.
Anyone can teach the exercises but a great instructor will have the ability to design and adapt a workout for you based on how you walk in the door each session. They can take one look and go “OK we need to work on your shoulders today or your hips look tight, let’s do some barrel work.”
The great ones also have the ability to speak and cue you in a way that makes sense to you. If their cues aren’t clicking with you, they should be able to give you a different one so you can execute the movement properly.
If you’ve ever taken dance classes with a choreographer, this is similar to how it should feel during a Pilates workout with a great instructor. They will guide you through the movements.
Your instructor’s cues will help you make corrections, modify the exercises, and progress them as you get stronger. You're always learning in Pilates so it’s important to find a teacher that’s the right fit for you.
8 step checklist for finding the perfect Pilates Instructor:
It’s not about the burn…
The goal of a Pilates workout isn’t sore or burning muscles, sweat soaked workout clothes, or vomiting like in a boot camp. It’s about getting in a state of flow, a moving meditation, where you engage your mind and body in a coordinated, graceful way.
Yes you’ll feel taller after class but your body should also be “turned on” because you’re more grounded, centered, present, calm yet empowered and energized!
The mind, when housed within a healthful body, possesses a glorious sense of power- Joseph Pilates
It’s powerful stuff for sure. Once you’ve found your studio and instructor, you need to start learning the language of Pilates or “cues” you’ll hear in a Pilates workout. I’ll decode some of the more common ones in my next blog post.
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P.S. You can download a summary of the 8 step checklist to finding a great Pilates studio and instructor here.
Mollie Miller, PT