Why we all need a Pilates class. 

Having had a baby just a few weeks ago my body is not what it used to be and I am in the rehabilitation phase. Moves I can usually do with ease I can currently not do with proper technique. Harder moves I know I shouldn’t even attempt until I am stronger. So instead of teaching them, I am attending some of our postnatal classes. It’s actually something I’ve never done before as we’ve never had a teacher who was able to cover those specialist classes for us.

It’s made me think about the benefits of  being in a class. When I’m fully fit I usually attend a teachers Pilates class. Why? Well to be a good teacher myself I still need to continue to be a student. I need to be challenged t

o work harder and do exercises I am unsure about. I need someone to watch me and correct my technique. I need to work my body in different ways. I need to learn how someone else teaches and pick up tips from them. I need to be inspired.

Yes you could do Pilates using a book, a DVD or an online video. Those can all work but personally I think the class is king. A DVD or online class is great if you know what you are doing. A book is good to read but I don’t see how you can properly do Pilates from a book!Pilates with Priya: Class in action
What you get out of a class:
1. A teacher who watches your body, corrects you, gets to know how your body works and what needs strengthening/stretching. Some of my clients have been with me for years and I can tell them exactly how their body will respond to a certain exercise or give them an adaptation before they even start.

2. Teaching points that are designed for you. I may not hands on correct you but may talk to you about the exercise to get you to think it through and use your body to respond. Self correction can be better than teacher correction. It builds that body awareness but with feedback from someone who has a different view. I can see if someone’s gluts are working hard when they shouldn’t be and coach them to switch them off at each repetition.

3. If you don’t get an exercise a teacher can explain it in a different way, give you an adapted version or physically move your body. Sometimes we all need a hand to adjust us.

4. A class is designed for you. I have a lesson plan but adapt it as I go along for each class. I may give different people in the class differing levels, give them equipment or a completely different exercise. It’s more personalised.

5. You can ask questions and get answers.  I still do this myself. It’s how I learn. Some people in my classes ask heaps of questions and want to know exactly how an exercise works. Others just want to get on and do it under a watchful eye. However you work that’s fine!

6. Any aches and pain can be taken into account. Our bodies differ week to week. A good teacher will ask his you are and adapt accordingly. I’ve had people unable to put weight on their knees, wrists or who have fallen over and broken a bone – but are still in class!

7. You are accountable to others and in community. Doing exercise with others makes its more fun and encourages you to attend more often and to keep going for longer. In our classes people make friends and really support each other. It’s a lovely

8. There are less distractions. With 3 children I have a lot that can distract me and stop me from doing exercise. Often it’s only after the children are in bed I have time to myself and by then exercise is not the first thing on my mind, the sofa can be more inviting!

Top 5 Pilates Books.

I’ll be honest. If someone tesll me that they have been learning Pilates from a book I inwardly cringe. Personally I feel that you can only get a proper understanding of Pilates from attending a class with a good teacher. One who will correct your technique, be hands on with you if needed and who takes the time to understand you and your body. Where books can be useful if for home practice or for learning more about how and why exercises work. It’s still not as a good as a class where a teacher can eyeball you… but it’s definitely a good idea to try and do some Pilates practice between classes if you can. Pilates with Priya: Top 5 Pilates books So here are my top 5 Pilates books: 1. A Pilates Primer: Return to life through Contrology and your health by Joseph Pilates – this has the original exercises in that Joseph Pilates designed as a home workout. However please do not use this as your home workout, we modify these exercises now! It is a good read to learn how Pilates started, for those interested in Mr Pilates himself. For home workouts, I find The Body Control Books are all pretty good options, with clear instructions and good tips on technique. 2. The Complete Classic Pilates Method by Lynne Robinson. A good starter book to have. 3. The Pilates Bible: The Most Comprehensive and Accessible Guide to Pilates Ever by Lynne Robinson. This has so many exercises in it that you are bound to find ones you recognise. Pick the ones you know help your body and that you need to work on. 4. Pilates: Simple Routines for Home, Work and Travel by Alan Herdman This has some nice stretches you can use in the morning and a good section with exercises you can do at work which I like. 5. Pilates for Life by Darcey Bussell. Split into sections making it easy to follow. You probably won’t end up looking like Darcey but you can imagine 😉