Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Pilates?
Pilates is a form of exercise that incorporates a series of slow controlled exercises, which are usually performed on a mat. These exercises concentrate on strengthening the body with an emphasis on developing core strength for improved posture, balance and flexibility.
Can anyone do Pilates?
Because Pilates can be modified to provide either a gentle strength-training program or a challenging workout, most people would have no problem with this form of exercise. It is suitable both for beginners and for people who already exercise regularly.
However if you have existing injuries or health problems that you are concerned about it is recommended to check with your health professional before you start any form of exercise. You should also always speak to your Pilates instructor in detail before commencing a class so that adaptations and alternatives can be offered to ensure you stay safe.
What health benefits can be obtained from Pilates?
As Pilates focuses on core strength, posture and flexibility the health benefits include:
Good posture - Pilates will teach you to gain and maintain good posture. The exercises require that your body is always in alignment. This is especially beneficial if you suffer from lower back pain.
Muscle Tone - The exercises involve the use of muscles that you may not use on a daily basis. This is especially good for older people and those who are normally quite sedate in their daily life as muscle tone is usually lost with age and inactivity.
Flexibility - Pilates will help to improve flexibility and develop stretch, which can help with tired, stressed and tight muscles.
Improves your balance - Pilates improves your physical balance through correct posture and the development of stronger core muscles.
Reduces stress – Taking time out to focus on your body and breathing can help to reduce stress.
Will I have to talk about personal things in the group?
The day is not a therapy group - you will not be asked to discuss anything personal within the group. There are a few occasions where we ask people to reflect generally as part of a group about the exercises completed but there is no expectation of personal disclosure.
Sometimes, allowing ourselves a day to have some 'me time', and focus on what is important to us, can create a range of feelings. We are always available to discuss any of these that occur, either on the day or following this. If necessary, we can signpost you to other local services.
Is lunch provided?
We provide drinks, snacks and fruit as part of the day. We ask that everyone brings a packed lunch with them. Lunch is a space for you to reflect on the exercises of the day so far, so we ask that the group remain in the hall (or near to it) for the duration of this.
What does mindfulness involve?
Mindfulness can involve a range of exercises that focus on being in the present moment, and noticing one thing. The mindfulness on the course is suitable for beginners, and includes focus on the breath, body, mindful eating and mindful movement.
What personal reflection is there?
The overall aim of the day is to focus positively on our physical and psychological strengths. Throughout the day we offer individuals the opportunity to pause and write down any personal reflections about each of the exercises. In the afternoon we will complete a values exercise which focuses on exploring what is important to you, and how you achieve this in your life. As noted above, there is no expectation to share your personal thoughts on this.
If you are interested in completing further mindfulness sessions, search for ‘Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction’ – this is an eight week course (sometimes run over a weekend) which overs a good introduction to mindfulness. The below website has a facility to search for courses near you:
The following website offers a free course in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and may contain some useful exercises. It also offers videos to help explore mindfulness further.
The following article gives a good overview of the main mindfulness apps available at the moment:
The aim of the day was to focus on our positives. If you are interested in the psychology of happiness, two podcasts you may be interested in are: