It's a Pilates Group Class Q & A!
It can be daunting to join your first Pilates group class—or even to start classes at a new studio. At MVP, we view group classes as a vital part of a Pilates practice. Group classes are your chance to practice the skills you have been sharpening in your private sessions, they encourage camaraderie, they give us the opportunity to see the work on other bodies, and—most important—they encourage the magic word: OWNERSHIP. Ownership of your body, your practice, your breath, and your health.
So if you’ve been thinking about joining a class, now’s the time! And here are some nuggets of info for you to peruse. Reach out with questions or to find out what class is right for you!
Some of the most common questions teachers are asked about group sessions are:
Q: How fast do classes class move?
A: Usually group classes move at a quicker pace than private lessons. But we keep the pace appropriate to the class level. Level 1 classes move at a deliberate pace—we know you’re still learning! So if you’re concerned about moving too quickly, come to a Level 1 or Level 1 & 2 class. As the levels advance, the classes move more quickly.
Level 3 and 4 classes move very quickly and with flow—we expect these students to be familiar with their own bodies and the Pilates work so you can add new and exciting exercises to you repertoire!
Q: Do I need to memorize the names and spring settings for each exercise?
A: When first starting out, no. We do expect a basic level of understanding of how the equipment works for safety reasons, but you don’t need to have all of the exercise names and setups memorized. Especially as you start out with group classes, your teacher will remind you of all the equipment settings you will need for each exercise. It’s not a test! We want you to succeed.
As you advance, we encourage you to take ownership of your practice! Knowing things like how many springs you need for your footwork on the Reformer will make you feel more independent and will give your workout a better flow. To take level 3 and above Classical classes, we require familiarity with the exercise names and equipment setups.
Q: Can modifications be given for me if my body is unable to do certain things like kneeling or putting pressure on my wrists?
A: Usually, yes. However, if you have a condition or old injury that prevents you from certain movements, we ask you to complete a series of private sessions with one of our expert teachers, so you can troubleshoot together and prepare yourself for the modifications you will need during class.
If you have a current injury or active pain, please do not join group class. Call 510-499-5559 or email us for advice.
Q: Do you always do the same exercises in class?
A: It depends on the class and the teacher. If the class is labeled “Classical” Pilates, you will usually do the same series of exercises in the same order, because classical Pilates uses the original order and repertoire that Joseph Pilates created. At each level, you add new and more challenging exercises into the order you have already learned.
If the class is labeled “Contemporary” Pilates, you won’t necessarily have a set order that you follow. Your teacher may have a structure that s/he follows, and the class will adhere to the Pilates principles, but will probably contain variations or “new twists” on the original Pilates exercises.
Q: I am fit, healthy, and work out a lot. Why can’t I join a Level 3 class right away?
A: Just like learning a new language, Pilates is a learned skill, full of nuance. The HOW of the exercise is more important than the WHAT. That means we want all our students to be able to learn the exercises from the inside out, so you focus on where the movement comes from, what it feels like for YOU, and not what it looks like from the outside or even what it looks like on another body. So we ask new students to join at the beginner level, to learn all the internal work that needs to happen as you perform your exercises.
This rule also helps us maintain the flow of our classes, keep students safe, and lets our regular clients keep advancing their practices.
Check out our Levels Guide here for more details about which classes might be most appropriate for you.
Q: How will I know if I’m doing it “right?”
A: Our classes are very small and all our teachers have been trained by prestigious Pilates schools, which require 500+ hours of training. We provide verbal, visual, and hands-on corrections for alignment, muscle activation, and breath…without judgement or pressure...so you can find the best version of each movement that’s right for your body.
So you’re in good hands!