By Andrea Bacon, Core Pilates Student-Teacher
Shortly after the birth of my first daughter 17 years ago, I saw an advertisement for Pilates that screamed “5 classes for $30”. What a deal! My osteopath had recommended I try Pilates to help protect and build strength in my back, so I thought, why not and immediately signed up. Thankfully, the cheap classes I’d signed up to were guided by a qualified and knowledgeable physiotherapist. My introduction to Pilates was a good one, and I was well looked after. Of course, this also meant that as time went on, my instructor became more well-known and in-demand, and suddenly it became very expensive for me, particularly with a young family. Who could afford (what I then considered) such a luxury?
Over the next few years, I moved from gym to gym, taking part in mass Pilates classes led by Personal Trainers. I always asked what I thought were the right questions; how much, how long and what waiver do I have to sign? Unfortunately, the question I never thought to ask was actually the most important; ‘what qualifications do you have to teach Pilates?’
You see, there’s Pilates…and then there’s Pilates. There’s the kind with the thumping pop music, one exercise for all and video screens to ‘guide’ you (you tend to spend a lot of time focusing on your butt). Then, there is the kind of Pilates delivered by instructors who spend time learning about you and your body, as well as your personal goals, to ensure you get the best out of each class physically and mentally.
It was only after I retired from nursing and started looking for a new career direction that I came to understand this critical difference. It was a realisation so significant for me that I am now earning a qualification in Pilates instruction.
My study has taught me that Pilates should energise you, not with loud music, but by connecting your mind and body. Your instructor should pay personal attention to you and work alongside you at every step. They should demonstrate and guide you through every movement with touch, imagery and strong verbal cues. It’s about quality over quantity.
Founder Joseph Pilates explains the practice “develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong posture, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind and elevates the spirit”. Let me tell you, it does! If you’re not getting all of this out of your Pilates practice…you’re not doing it right.