The Beginner’s Guide to Pilates
If you’re new to Pilates, it can seem like a confusing world. There’s new terminology and strange equipment, but you’ve been told that it’s good for you. If you’re still unsure about the benefits of Pilates or whether it’s for you, it’s important to understand the basics first. A class offering Pilates for beginners could be ideal for you if you’re interested in learning more and trying it out. You can learn about what Pilates is and who created it, and and it could improve your life. Read our beginner’s guide to get a crash course and find out how to get ready for your first Pilates class.
What Is Pilates?
Pilates is named after its inventor, Joseph Pilates, who came up with the system in the early twentieth century. Although some people confuse it with yoga, it’s pretty different, except that it’s sometimes also performed on a mat. Pilates uses bodyweight resistance to help you get stronger, more toned and more in tune with your body.
The Six Principles of Pilates
There are six basic principles that inform the practice of Pilates. They are:
- Centering - how you should centre your core (or powerhouse as it’s known in Pilates)
- Concentration - paying attention to how you work your muscles for maximum benefit
- Control - doing each movement with purpose (and on purpose)
- Precision - getting each movement correct so you benefit most
- Breath - regulating your breathing and taking deep breaths
- Flow - being careful to maintain fluidity and grace
Some of these might seem a bit frightening if you’re a beginner. Don’t let the idea of having to have complete control and be super precise put you off, though. These are things you should aim for, but there’s no need to be perfect from your first class. You can keep the six principles in mind to help you understand how to get more from Pilates.
Mat vs. Reformer Pilates
If you’re looking for Pilates for beginners, you might notice that some classes are based on mats, while others use various types of equipment. The equipment you’re most likely to come across is the reformer. Starting with classes on mats is a good idea to help you grasp the basics of Pilates. However, it isn’t essential and, in fact, some people say that reformers are better to start with. Make sure you start off with a beginner’s class so that you’re not thrown in at the deep end and you can grasp the basic movements first.
Preparing for a Pilates Class
If you’re nervous about attending a Pilates class for the first time, knowing how to prepare will help to calm you. Before you go to a Pilates for beginners class, make sure you have appropriate clothing that’s not too tight but not too baggy. You won’t need shoes and equipment will be provided for you, but you can take a towel and even your own mat if you want. Remember to have water with you too - staying hydrated is important. Apart from that, you just need to go in with an open mind.
Once you’ve got a taste for Pilates, you won’t be able to get enough. You’ll quickly pick it up and start benefiting from everything it can do for you.