It can be challenging to start a new activity, and it doesn’t get easier as we age. Starting a new venture of any kind can involve learning a new vocabulary, investing in new equipment, and even figuring out what to wear. Pilates is no different. This article is intended to help those who are new to Pilates persevere as they start their practice–and thrive!
When you start Pilates, it’s a good idea to embrace being a beginner. There have been many fit people, even athletes, who have jumped into intermediate or advanced Pilates classes because they think the beginner work will not create the results they are looking for, or will be boring or basic. In fact, going into advanced classes without a strong foundation not only invites risk of injury due to improper form, it also means that you skip developing the autonomy and body awareness that is a hallmark of a seasoned Pilates practitioner.
A ballet student performs barre work every day of their ballet life, whether he or she is a kindergartener or a principal dancer. Pilates operates the same way. There are core exercises and movements that recur throughout the Pilates repertoire. It’s important to be proficient at the basics before layering on the advanced movements, patterns, and even tricks that constitute the intermediate or advanced work. Pilates rewards repetition, with each workout or session revealing new information about both your body and the genius of Joe Pilates’ method.
Taking a private lesson or a series of private lessons is a wonderful way to begin your Pilates journey. Some people find that hands-on teaching and cueing is most effective for them. Others are more visual learners and can absorb information through a screen.
During the pandemic (which is not in the past as of this writing), taking in-person classes or sessions was not always possible. Many people discovered Pilates online and began their Pilates practice online, too. If you are a beginner, it’s even more important to do your research and make sure the instructor you are following is comprehensively trained through a reputable teacher training program, and able to offer modifications for injuries or special populations such as people with osteoporosis.
Pilates Anytime offers classes appropriate for any level. To get started, check out our Beginner’s Center. Our Pilates basics classes are in-depth lessons that introduce the undergirding concepts in an understandable, non-intimidating way. You can repeat the classes, taking each one a few times before moving on, or participate in order, progressing each time you take class.
No matter your fitness level, if you're a beginner and don't have access to a teacher for your first few lessons, the beginner progressions are an opportunity to learn the Pilates Mat work, refine your technique, and maximize your results.
From there, you can explore the full range of classes available on our website. You can also participate in in-person group classes at a studio or gym with a good understanding of the Pilates principles. This will minimize both your risk of injury and of overwhelm and the resulting discouragement that can doom so many New Year’s resolutions.
Remember, a Pilates practice is a marathon, not a sprint. Pilates can be done by people of all ages, shapes, and sizes, and at all life stages. Take it slow, be mindful and patient, and you’ll be rewarded with improved vitality, strength, and confidence.
Do you have advice for those who are new to the practice of Pilates? Let us know in the comments below.