What are Compassionate Body Pilates classes like?
Friendly and Welcoming
I love meeting new people and I really enjoy it when my clients become friendly with each other. It's amazing to help create connections in the world. Of course if you don't want to talk you are more than welcome to hide in the back! I always make sure I am prepped before a class with a questionnaire from everyone so I know what issues you may have, or any exercises that I may need to modify for each individual. I give my attention evenly to everyone in the class and aim to respond to the needs of each person. I want to get to know you and always try my best to get verbal feedback from everyone after each class. I'm always thrilled when I get questions about specific exercises- it means that my enthusiasm for Pilates is becoming contagious!
All my classes are on the mat, and I have a variety of small equipment that may be used. This includes the pilates ring, large stability balls, exercise bands, small soft balls, toning balls, and ankle weights. Using equipment helps to focus on and develop strength or stability in each exercise. It's also super fun to try out a familiar exercise on a new bit of equipment- it keeps the classes fresh and challenging every week.
At the beginner level I keep my classes small, limited to 8, in order to provide the maximum amount of individual support possible. In the Improver/Advanced classes I have no more than 12 clients maximum.
In a beginners class I will demonstrate many exercises in the first few weeks, but once we get going I limit the amount of demonstrations I do in a class as I find it is far more effective to focus on having the class perform more exercises themselves rather than watch me! In short, you will gain more strength from doing more exercises in each class, and improve more quickly.
I place an strong emphasis on breathing in my classes because I have found that the breath really makes a huge difference to strengthening the core. It also helps people to develop their lung capacity and increases the cardiovascular effect of the exercises. To make breathing easy to learn I encourage everyone to breathe together and move together. This can be amazing for beginners because they don't have to worry about when to breathe, as everyone is breathing at the same rate. I also breathe really loudly to lead the group- seems pretty funny sometimes but it works! I do not play music as I find this distracts from the breath and interferes with concentration.
I regularly circle the class to check that everyone is performing the movements in a good alignment and feeling the right muscles working. Doing an exercise with improper alignment can simply continue to strengthen imbalanced muscles and aggravate existing injuries. I want you to strengthen the right areas of your body in order to gain the most you can from our classes together.
Quality, not Quantity
Joseph Pilates believed that to perform a movement well for a few repetitions was worth much more than doing hundreds of sloppy exercises. I believe this to be true and most exercises will be performed between 6-8 times maximum in my classes. On the plus side, you won't be bored by endless repetitions!
Any decent Pilates practice should also include a growing body awareness which translates into everyday life. For example, learning to use the shoulders properly when carrying groceries is something that should come about through a regular pilates practice. I often take a moment to explain how a movement can help with everyday life so that you will find yourself thinking- "hey, I'm carrying groceries- guess I should put my shoulders back and down!"
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