Five things to know before your first pilates class

Updated: Oct 5, 2021

With Ele from Shoreline Pilates


Sure, like us, you've probably heard of Pilates a million times before. But other than its inclusion in Jennifer Aniston's workout routine, did we actually know anything about this praised fitness system? Not really. So, we decided to rope in Ele Crossland from Shoreline Pilates to give us the low down on everything we need to know before we book our first class. Disclosure: There's no excuse not to jump in and join us.

What is Pilates?

"Pilates is an exercise method that trains both the mind and body, with an emphasis on improving core strength & stability. Pilates quite literally 'centres' around the concept of 'contrology'- being fully in charge and control of our body from the centre/core - mainly the abdomen and spine." Ele tells us. "Practising Pilates teaches you to be more aware of your body and your movements and with regular practise and progression you will become stronger, more flexible, have a greater sense of balance and become more toned."

What lead you to a career in Pilates?

Ele began training as a Pilates teacher in 2016 after experiencing the benefits and enjoyment of Pilates for herself, "At the time I was working in London and, quite literally, driving running myself into the ground with work and busy-ness," says Ele. "I instantly fell in love with Pilates as, while I felt that I was benefitting my body with the strength and core work, it gave me a feeling of being refreshed and re-balanced in my mind – something I desperately needed."

Once Ele decided to leave her 9-5 city job and retrain as a Pilates instructor, there was no stopping her. "Since qualifying, I’ve set up my own classes, been lucky enough to travel in Greece and Italy through my teaching and, over the past year or so, taught online."

What are the health benefits?

According to Ele, there are so many benefits of a regular and consistent practise. Here are just a few:

· Increase core stability & strength

· Improved joint stability & mobility

· Improved strength and flexibility

· Enhance performance in sports

· Protect against back pain & injury

· Improvement in posture & body alignment

· More efficient breathing

· Heightened body awareness

· Better balance and co-ordination

· Improved bone density

· Fewer aches and pains

· Overall improvement in your health and wellbeing

Almost ready to grab your mat? Here's five things you need to know...

1. There is no such thing as a ‘Pilates body’

"I would like to emphasise that Pilates is for everyone; you don’t need to think about yourself being into fitness or being particularly sporty. Whether you want to release tension and tightness caused by work, compliment your non-Pilates activities, support your recovery from surgery or cancer, or feel the benefits pre and post-natal, Pilates can really benefit everyone, from all walks of life."

2. You don’t need a lot of space or special equipment

"Just enough space to lay out an exercise mat or a blanket on the floor with some space to move your arms and legs freely. You can commandeer household objects if you don’t want to invest in equipment; tins of beans, bottles of water, a squishy cushion, a flatter pillow or a pair of tights work very well in place of hand weights, a Pilates ball, a head cushion and a resistance band."

3. Find a Pilates teacher you click with

"Do your research. Every teacher has their own style of teaching and method of delivery, and you might gel with one more than the other. It’s really worth looking at teachers’ websites and social media feeds so you can get a feel for their style (I have lots of free videos on my feeds for you to try) before you commit."

4. Don’t compare yourself with anyone else!

"I promise you, everyone else in class is too busy thinking about what they are doing to look at yourself. Also, it’s a practice. You wouldn’t expect to go into a French class as a non-speaker and be fluent after the first class and the same applies to Pilates. Over time, with regular practise, you’ll start to feel and see the results."

As Joseph Pilates said, ‘In 10 sessions you'll feel the difference, in 20 sessions you'll see the difference, and in 30 sessions you'll have a whole new body’.

5. Dress for the occasion

"What to wear is a question I get asked often. Wear something you can move freely in, that doesn’t restrict you and that keeps you cool and comfortable. I tend to wear leggings (or shorts in summer) and a racer-back top and a light/medium support bra, and guys tend to wear joggers or running shorts with a t-shirt. I recommend wearing Pilates socks – they help you to grip the map and sometimes venues can get a bit chilly!"


The question is remains: real-life or virtual?

"There are so many great benefits of both real life classes and virtual classes, especially in 2021! In a real life class, I can see you and how you move, and suggest adaptations and modifications to help you achieve better results, progress in an exercise and give you hands-on corrections. There’s also a great community atmosphere and it’s a lovely way to meet people."

"Virtual classes, though, are brilliant for those with busy lifestyles as you can practise where and when suits you. I run on demand classes which you can pause, rewind and re-do, and lots of my clients love those as they can do half an hour on one day and find time another day to finish it off. Over lockdown, virtual classes have been a real lifeline for both me and my clients – adding some routine and structure into what has been a very unsettled time, as well as keeping them working out at home when our options for movement were so very limited."

Thanks Ele!

Take the plunge and head over to Shoreline Pilates website below


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