By Yuuki Yamagiwa
In “Return to Life through Contrology,” Joseph Pilates mentions that if one practices Pilates four times a week, one will notice physical, mental, and spiritual evolution and progression.
If you are thinking of adding more Pilates to your schedule, then group classes can help tremendously in allowing you to not only fit in more Pilates at a more affordable rate, but to also obtain the opportunity to move and progress independently at your own pace. Contrology group classes at Westwood Pilates are run in a similar nature as those that were practiced in New York with Joseph Pilates himself. If you had been a student of Joseph Pilates in New York, you would take only a few Privates to learn the sequences of and techniques within the exercises, and then you would come into the studio during a designated time to practice independently, where the instructors are there to assist you only if and when needed.
Due to the independent nature of Contrology classes, however, clients cannot necessarily jump in immediately. Group classes require much more independence than privates, and it does require some comfort working on your own. Here are some tips to help you before taking your first Contrology group class:
1. Make sure to take enough Privates before you jump into a group class.
Take as many privates as needed so that you feel comfortable working independently at your own pace. Private lessons will help you learn how to be confident in setting yourself up for every exercise, and it’s a good idea to take privates to feel safe and comfortable working with the complexity of Pilates equipment, especially if you’re still new to Pilates. When you feel comfortable or if your instructor informs you that you are ready to start with group classes, then you know that you’re ready to sign up!
2. If you need more private sessions but cannot afford to take privates, talk with an instructor to take sessions with an apprentice instructor.
Private sessions are not always affordable for everyone, but private sessions with any of our apprentices are offered at a cheaper price. Our studio offers a teacher training program where the trainees must apprentice teach before becoming certified. So if that is of interest to you, talk with any of our instructors and let them know! They’ll be happy to give you more information.
3. Bring an open mind to your Group Classes
Learning new exercises takes more than physical strength. You might not know how to do an exercise, or you might get stuck on one particular exercise while others are moving on to the next, and that’s okay! Some clients may be performing more advanced exercises than others, but level of ability should never determine how better of a student you are. Pilates is a beautiful practice that allows you to experience your own unique journey in a safe and comfortable environment. Allow your own Pilates journey to unfold at your own pace in ways that make your body feel taller and more open after class.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
Your instructors are there to guide you. If you are ever stuck or have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask. That’s what teachers are there for; they are present in your practice to guide you and help you in the progression of your journey!
5. Make time for self-practice
Some exercises, especially those on the mat, can be practiced at home or in your workspace. Find some time in your schedule to practice Pilates at home, even if it’s only for five minutes in a day. Making time for self-practice not only prepares you to feel comfortable working on your own and jumping in to Contrology classes, but it can help get you in tune with your body and encourage you to develop a sense of body awareness too!
If you’re interested in taking a group class or incorporating group classes into your schedule, don’t hesitate to let your instructors know! They will be the best guides who can set you up for success. The more Pilates you fit into your schedule, the more comfortable you will be working independently and incorporating more classes!