When we were planning to move to New Zealand, I spent a considerable amount of time looking for a good Pilates studio in Wellington. I love Pilates – could do it every day (and before you say ‘nothing to stop you doing it at home’ I need a class to push me to doing it properly). Like others, I’ve never really got on with yoga, though I have tried it loads of times. Pilates however fills me with energy and helps to iron out daily niggles, caused these days in particular, by sitting too long in front of a computer.
Pilates? No need
Since I’ve had a frozen shoulder, I’ve had to cut back on my Xtend Barre classes as I found adapting them to my incapacity just stopped it being fun or challenging. My shoulder is improving, and I hope to get back into Xtend again soon, but in the meantime, I am just enjoying Pilates twice a week.
I would strongly advise anyone trying Pilates for the first time to invest a little and pay for a couple of private classes to learn the technique. This really pays off in the long term. I first started Pilates on Saturday mornings at a gym in Glasgow, and while I loved the classes, I missed some of the essential techniques I have since learned. At the moment, I go once a week to The Pilates Studio in the centre of Wellington. It is a fantastic studio with all the Pilates equipment – reformers, a cadillac, barrels, chairs….the lot. There are usually about 4 of us in the class, each doing out own exercises based on our needs. It is a little oasis during the working week for me. The other class I go to is a floor only class, often using balls or other equipment. It’s fun too, and different from the other class, yet using the same techniques of breathing and building up core strength.
I don’t know how many of you do Pilates or have tried it out, but find out a bit about your instructors. Pilates teachers who are former dancers teach differently to those who come from a fitness or physiotherapy background. My personal preference is for the former as they teach a more fluid, flowing form of movement. Regardless, do check out their credentials. I went to a dreadful class once in Copenhagen taught by a woman who had taught gymnastics and had self taught herself Pilates.
We all have our own favourite exercise routine, and Pilates is mine. I love testing myself, building up my core strength and flexibility. It isn’t easy, despite what you might think. As Lily Pebbles put it “a sit up is so subtle and when you position your pelvis in the right place and hold in your stomach and bum, it’s like you’ve never really done a proper sit up in your life”.
Anyway, modern Pilates is quite different from this original footage which is worth watching for fun. The exercises look familiar, but the teaching style is…just a little different!