Yoga Chew Valley

PILATES FOR BEGINNERS

If you have wanted to try Pilates classes but something has been holding you back, here is some information for you to give you some background about what it is. 

What is Pilates?

Pilates is named for its creator, Joseph Pilates, who developed the exercises in the 1920s. It is a method of exercise that emphasises proper postural alignment, core strength, and muscle balance, and is an accessible way to build strength in your core muscles for better posture, balance, and flexibility. You will improve your posture, focus on bodily alignment, and get a great workout for your core. You can do Pilates with or without equipment, but no matter what, expect the moves to involve precise movements and breath control. 

Types of Pilates

The two basic forms of Pilates are:

  • Mat-based Pilates – this is a series of exercises performed on the floor using gravity and your bodyweight to provide resistance. The main aim is to condition the deeper, supporting muscles of your body to improve posture, balance, and coordination
  • Equipment-based Pilates – this includes specific equipment that works against spring-loaded resistance, including the ‘reformer’, which is a moveable carriage that you push and pull along its tracks. Some forms of Pilates include weights (such as dumbbells) and other types of small equipment that offer resistance to the muscles.

At our studio, we only offer mat-based Pilates classes.

Can beginners do Pilates?

YES! Though it’s a common misconception that Pilates is only for serious athletes or professional dancers. While these groups first adopted Pilates, they are not the only ones who can benefit from this approach to strength training. And best of all, Pilates does not require specialised equipment. Many Pilates exercises can be done on the floor with just a mat. In fact, it can be a great way to start exercise when you are new to exercise or recovering from an injury or time out.

What are the benefits of Pilates?

By practicing Pilates regularly, you can achieve many health benefits, including:

  • improved flexibility
  • increased muscle strength and tone, particularly of your abdominal muscles, lower back, hips, and buttocks (the ‘core muscles’ of your body)
  • balanced muscular strength on both sides of your body
  • enhanced muscular control of your back and limbs
  • improved stabilisation of your spine
  • improved posture
  • rehabilitation or prevention of injuries related to muscle imbalances
  • improved physical coordination and balance
  • relaxation of your shoulders, neck, and upper back
  • safe rehabilitation of joint and spinal injuries
  • prevention of musculoskeletal injuries
  • increased lung capacity and circulation through deep breathing
  • improved concentration
  • increased body awareness
  • stress management and relaxation.

Tips for beginners:

  1. An experienced teacher is essential to help you get a proper introduction to the subtleties of Pilates. They can show you effectively what each exercise looks and feels like, and can respond to your individual needs.
  2. Start from where you are. Be honest with yourself about your body’s strengths, weaknesses, and needs, and ask your teacher for help with realistic aims.
  3. Results on any workout come from working consistently. You need to be patient and regular in your practice of Pilates to achieve your goals, and sometimes the exercises you find most difficult may be the best medicine for you, so persevere!
  4. “No pain no gain” is certainly not the Pilates way, and if you are finding an exercise painful you should stop. 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.
  5. Be consistent. Schedule your sessions into your diary.