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    Ihavelight's Avatar
    Ihavelight is offline Junior Member
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    Question Choosing Pilates Instructor, type of instruction and studio etiquette

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    At the suggestion of someone on this forum I decided to join a pilates studio.
    I have never done pilates before and initial google search of same left me a bit overwhelmed.
    So, I am posing questions to those who have done pilates for years or, perhaps, are pilates instructors themselves:

    1. does instructor have to be certified, and, if so, are all certifications created equal?
    2. what other questions should i pose to the potential instructor?
    3. how do I pick a specific pilates method (i noticed there are mat workouts, Stott(?), Romana?, etc.
    4. what should I know about the studio etiquette?
    5. how many classes a week are optimal?
    5. anything else I should be aware of?

    I think I will start with a few private lessons first. Since it is a substantial financial investment for me and I do have pre-existing back pain issues, I am being extra careful. Your comments are appreciated.

  2. #2
    zoebird's Avatar
    zoebird is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ihavelight View Post
    At the suggestion of someone on this forum I decided to join a pilates studio.
    I have never done pilates before and initial google search of same left me a bit overwhelmed.
    So, I am posing questions to those who have done pilates for years or, perhaps, are pilates instructors themselves.
    I am not a pilates instructor, nor have I done pilates for years, but I have done pilates and I have friends who are instructors. I teach yoga and have for years.

    1. does instructor have to be certified, and, if so, are all certifications created equal?
    It's a good idea to go with a certified instructor or one who is finishing up certification. Certification can take 1-2 years, and you have to have a certain level of experience in pilates to start the program.

    2. what other questions should i pose to the potential instructor?
    You'll want to ask about anything that might be specifically relevant to you. For example, if you have had an injury or have a natural anomaly in your anatomy, you'll want to ask if the instructor has experience with this AND whether or not you can talk to other students who have this same condition. This way, you can really get a sense of how this form of pilates and this instructor will work with you, and whether they can work with you.

    Another area to talk about is what your goals are or may be and how the pilates instructor would suggest you work to reach those goals. You might also discuss timelines -- expectations as to when you should see results, etc.

    3. how do I pick a specific pilates method (i noticed there are mat workouts, Stott(?), Romana?, etc.
    They are actually quite similar, but I would first look at the certifying methods as well as the 'history' of the style -- how it relates to Pilates original work, where the deviations are, and where the primary focus of the particular style is. For example, some are focused on "slimming" while others are focused on "spinal alignment" and still others are other elements. When you meet with an instructor in that style, talk to the person about their background before and around pilates, why they chose this style, and how they work with this information, as well as what they 'add to it' from their own experience, education, and teaching.

    4. what should I know about the studio etiquette?
    Most studios will have information on their web site about this -- if it's really particular -- or you can just ask the staff when you arrive. For the most part, just be nice and well mannered, and you'll be fine.

    5. how many classes a week are optimal?
    This depends upon a lot of factors. One-four, typically speaking, tends to be the average for people. Most of the people whom I know go twice a week -- usually one is a private lesson or small group (i.e., 2-3 people) and usually one 'class' (of about 6-10 people).

    5. anything else I should be aware of?
    For me, your best bet is to start with some private lessons and work on the machines. Mat pilates is actually quite advanced work, so I would wait until you have some experience before getting into it.

    I think I will start with a few private lessons first. Since it is a substantial financial investment for me and I do have pre-existing back pain issues, I am being extra careful. Your comments are appreciated.
    This being the case, Stott pilates is probably a good choice for you, with their emphasis on spinal integrity. This is what my friends teach and study, so I do have the most experience with it and enjoy it. It's definitely worth asking around, talking about what your specific issues are, and making sure that your teacher understands what you are talking about.

    Ask for those references too. Be clear "Do you have other students who have a condition similar to mine? If so, would it be possible for me to contact them and speak to them before we have our lessons. I'd just like their insights and feed back with regards to their condition and your teaching."

    I do this quite frequently for my potential students with special needs.

  3. #3
    Ihavelight's Avatar
    Ihavelight is offline Junior Member
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    Thank you for taking the time to post a thorough reply, Zoebird.
    I am a bit surprised that so few people have posted; there must be more folks studying pilates on here.
    I will definitely look into Stott in my area; thank you for giving me a starting point!

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