What should I wear?
Comfortable clothing but nothing too baggy on the upper body. I like to be able to see your back so that I can asses your neutral spine and check your posture throughout the class. We generally go barefoot but if you prefer to wear socks then that's ok.
Do I have to book a course?
Pilates classes are kept small so that each participant can be checked, monitored and the moves adapted where necessary for every exercise. So that I can do this effectively and without compromising safety, I have a maximum number of 10 in a standard class and 6-8 in a specialised class. I normally run the sessions over a 6 week period* which allows a course to be able to progress, develop and flow; this is difficult if new people are dropping in each week. School or public holidays sometimes mean that the blocks are slightly shorter or longer. When a course is not full, it maybe possible to drop-in at a slightly increased rate but pre-booking is essential for screening purposes.
*Mums and Babes Pilates at Stroud Yoga Space is bookable on a weekly basis.
Do I need to bring a mat or equipment?
No I provide mats, bands, blocks and balls where required.
Can I bring my child/baby?
Babies from 6 weeks to pre-crawling(ish) are welcome in the informal atmosphere of the post-natal classes. They are best left at home for all other sessions as however well behaved your little one is, they are distracting for you and other class participants.
Do I have to wait until the start of a new course to join?
If the course is full then yes. I operate a waiting list and when a space becomes available I will contact you and you will be able to join at the beginning of the next course. I also screen each prospective class participant in advance as well as at the start of the block so that I am aware of your needs as well as any medical conditions you may have. I am then better placed to assess whether you will be suited to the class. Sometimes I may feel it better to get a GP or other health professional's referral prior to commencing a course.
Do men do Pilates?
Absolutely. Apart from ante natal and post-natal, classes are open to men and women. The fundamental principles of Pilates are equally important to men and women. Poor posture, weak core and back muscles affect all of us and can be exacerbated by everyday working practises. Athletes Bradley Wiggins and Jessica Ennis use Pilates to complement their training as do Premier League Football clubs, PGA Golfers, Cricketers and even Rugby's London Irish team. Pilates was borne from 'Contrology' which was first used by dancers and athletes long before it was customised for general health and fitness.
I have been doing regular Pilates - do I have to switch to ante natal?
If you were attending Pilates pre pregnancy and you have been feeling well then there is no reason to stop with that class until the second trimester (13 - 27 weeks). You should of course let your instructor know so he/she can be aware of your potential limitations. You may even be allowed to continue with that class if the instructor feels he/she can adapt the moves during the class sufficiently. The issue is more that regular Pilates classes are planned to meet the demands of non pregnant people, so you may end up missing out. Ante natal Pilates classes are not only run by qualified specialised instructors who understand the impact of exercise in pregnancy, but they are designed to tackle the stresses of pregnancy and prepare the body for childbirth. What is more, it can be a great way of meeting other like-minded mums-to-be.
Do I need to be fit?
Everyone secretly wonders if they will stand out as the unfit specimen in the class! In reality each participant has different strengths and weaknesses and very different needs. I offer modifications and adaptations where necessary and show progressions for those who are ready for them. I strongly encourage everyone to work at his/her own level so as not to compromise the effectiveness of the move. I get my participants to think of Pilates in terms of building blocks; once you have mastered a level you are ready to move on. Doing this before you are ready undermines the purpose benefit of the move. I continuously monitor and assess each person's progress and offer advice based on observation and feedback.
Will I get hot and sweaty?
You won't be using large dynamic muscle groups so 'no' you won't get hot and sweaty. However, you are strength training and some of the moves will get the circulation going so you may start to 'glow' as your heart rate gently lifts. At the end of the session we do a release and relax section following the flexibility work. Some people like to have a warm top to put on for this especially during the cooler months.
How long can I come to a post-natal class - if I come without my baby?
You may well want to come along to a post-natal class and have someone look after your baby - that's fine as long as you are happy to have other babies in the class. The effects of the pregnancy hormones can last up to a year in the body and conditions such as diastasis recti and pubic symphysis dysfunction can be problematic beyond 6 months when your baby may be beyond pacifying for the duration of the class. If you have child care you are welcome to attend the classes for 1 year post delivery.
I'm pregnant and haven't been exercising - can I start Pilates now?
Yes normally you will be able to start ante natal Pilates from the second trimester once your body has started to adapt to the changes of early pregnancy. It is essential to contact me for specific advice prior to joining.
Will I see the benefits of Pilates in one course?
It takes about 4 - 6 weeks to fully get to grips with Pilates if you are new to it but most people feel the benefits of each and every class.