Mat Pilates is a very popular form of exercise thanks to its many benefits.
These benefits include
improved posture, coordination and balance
stronger core and flatter tummy
reduction/prevention of back pain
reduced stiffness and increase in mobility and flexibility
helps prevent injuries
improved performance in sports or dance
many have noticed it even helps them sleep better!
How is Pilates different to other toning mat classes? At Pilates Basics beginner class you will learn the principles of Pilates: control, body alignment, neutral spine, core engagement, llateral thoracic breathing, precision and flow. Practicing these principles while performing Pilates exercises makes all the difference. Pilates looks and feels easy when not done correctly. That is why it is important Pilates class sizes are small and the teacher goes around correcting. When you get it right you really feel the exercises working your deeper core muscles; transversus abdominis, lumbar multifidus and the pelvic floor. These are the important muscles for improving your posture, reducing back pain. They act as your very own corset giving your spine support (and help you get a flatter tummy!) Even after one class you will stand a little bit taller and feel more relaxed in your body.
In Beginner Pilates (Level 1)classes we keep practicing the basics and you will learn classic Pilates exercise repertoire along with modern Pilates exercises. We also use optional small equipment such as Pilates circles, weights, balls of varying sizes, blocks, resistance bands, foam rollers and hedgehogs. In higher level classesyou explore all the 34 original exercises Joseph Pilates created, and learn new combinations of classic and modern exercises. We work on a certain sequence of exercises for a block, and both the warm up and the exercises become harder as the weeks go by. This approach means you will thoroughly learn the exercises and can really feel yourself improve.
What level is right for me?If you have no prior experience, Beginner level is for you. It's ideal if you manage to take a New Joiners: Premium Pilates Basics live online class before taking a Beginner class. If you have taken classes before, understand the basics, and are able to keep both legs up in table top correctly when on your back (for example in The Hundred exercises), Level 2-3 improver/intermediate level is the right choice. We have Premium New Joiners classes for Level 2-4 for people with prior experience, so joining one of those would be a great first step. Anna can help advise a suitable level there. You can also find more details about choosing the right level on our Forum page here.
Pilates with Small Equipmentclass focuses on exploring the use of small props, such as foam rollers, mini balls and large gym balls. All of the equipment mentioned are very beneficial for improving core stability and strength. Gentle Pilates is a relaxing, slow paced class that places a bit more emphasis on mobility exercises. If taken as a video class, it works very nicely as a wake up morning class too. Difficulty level options are given for each level, however beginners should first take their Basics class and a few Pilates Level 1 classes in order to understand the basics before joining these classes.
Working at your own level.Pilates is a very self-focused, non-competetive class in a supportive and encouraging environment. It's a time for you to connect with your body and make it stronger at your own pace. Pilates is taught by layering each exercise. This means you will always have the right amount of challenge, even in a mixed ability class. If you have limitations to movement, such as a shoulder injury or arthritis in your wrists, we can give you adaptations or alternative exercises. Do you suffer from back pain and stiffness? Want to improve your posture? Have no health niggles but want to improve your strength, mobility and flexibility? No matter your background or goals, Pilates is for you!
Who was Joseph Pilates? He created a method he called "Contrology", now known as the Pilates method, in New York in the 1920s. At its core is the idea of the use of your mind to control your muscles. This includes focusing your attention on the deeper core postural muscles that help to keep the body balanced and provide support for the spine. Pilates described his method in the following way: “Contrology is not a system of haphazard exercises designed to produce only bulging muscles". It is an exercise and breathing regime that “develops the body uniformly, corrects posture, restores vitality, invigorates the mind and elevates the spirit.” You can read more about Joseph Pilates's life and legacy here.
Barre: Feel graceful while working hard!Barre has become very popular in the last few years. Our 45min and 30min Barre class consists of toning and strengthening exercises for the lower and upper body done mid-floor and at the ballet barre, while also working your core using the principles of Pilates core engagement and postural alignment. We work on a set of exercises choreographed to uplifting and energetic music for approximately 7-10 weeks, and they get progressively harder. This means you get to learn the exercises well and can really focus on correct form and pushing yourself harder each week. We use weighted balls, resistance bands, balance training equipment and Pilates circles to add resistance and challenge to the exercises. The class involves no jumping, so it is well suited to people with joint problems. Our Barre classes have no mat element, the whole class is done standing. We focus on small isometric movements, so there is less of a cardio component. You are still very likely to break a sweat! We thoroughly recommend taking both Barre and Pilates as we have designed them to perfectly compliment each other. Barre focuses on toning your legs and arms while Pilates strengthens and shapes your core. If you are new to Barre, we recommend taking the Beginner Barre class.
Barre+Core: 60min full body toning class. This is a fun, high intensity class mixing Barre with Pilates inspired exercises. First we do a selection of Barre exercises mid-floor and at the barre. The second half of the class focuses on the core on the mat, not forgetting some upper body work as well. The mat exercises are a mix of classic and modern Pilates inspired exercises choreographed to uplifting and fun music. Barre+Core is more energetic and faster paced than Pilates, and recommended for Level 2 and up.
Full Body Burn. This is an intense and fast paced class where we perform toning exercises following the Pilates principles. It's very similar to the mat component of the Barre+Core class and the exercises of Fast Paced Pilates for Level 3-4. Difficulty level options are given for each level, however beginners should first take their Basics class and a few Pilates Level 1 classes in order to understand the basics.
Members Only Workouts. These are classes only available as live online classes to people holding a 7 Day Trial or a Monthly Membership. Gentle Workout is suitable for all levels, and it works great a a mobilising Wake Up /Warm Up class. Sweat workout is a very intense full body toning class. These classes mix Pilates and Barre type exercises and the class content is different each time.
Massage & Stretch We start with a gentle warm-up to prepare the muscles, spine and joints. In order to reach a deeper stretch, we then massage away tension and muscle knots using hedgehogs (soft half spheres with spikes) or foam rollers; working on upper back, lower back, gluteals and hamstrings depending on the focus of the class. We then do longer developmental stretches to create length in the loosened areas we worked on. We also explore PNF techniques for stretching. We have a selection of 60min+, 45min and 30min classes/video classes organised by which area of the body the focus on.
Mobility & Flexibility These classes focus more on dynamic stretching and mobility exercises. They are great for improving mobility around your shoulders, back and hips. Currently you'll find these as video classes.
Balance Our 15min Balance class focuses on standing balance exercises and we use hedgehogs and half foam rollers to add challenge. They're great for improving your posture and core strength too, since our balance comes from core engagement.