What happens in a Pilates lesson?

Pilates classes are held in a variety of different environments: in Pilates studios, gyms, sports centres or yoga studios. The class is often given to a small group (12 people at most).

When you arrive for your first class, you will give your personal information (name, address, date of birth) along with information about your health. You must bring a doctor’s note that confirms your physical ability to practice Pilates.

A typical class lasts about one hour.

How should I dress?

Wear comfortable clothing, not too loose or too tight. Wear socks during your class, but no shoes.

What will I do?

You will learn the choreography of the movements in class and the breath that goes along with it. But learning Pilates is always done with a certain level of body awareness – how do I move my body to move it? The teacher gives mostly verbal cues and remains standing during the class in order to circulate amongst the group and give corrections. He or she will explain each movement, the breath that goes along with it, and gives images to help you understand the goal of the movement. The teacher also proposes appropriate modifications when needed.

I’m not in very good shape. Can I still take class?

If you do not have any particular contraindications and the approval of your doctor to participate in the class, you should not worry (see Contraindications). With regular practice, you will see and feel the changes. The movements become easier, the breathing more natural. Often the teachers offer different levels of classes, so ask which level best meets your needs.

How will I advance?

If you are taking class in a studio or club that offers several levels, the teacher will tell you when he or she believes you can advance to the next level. A higher level class means that there are more exercises done at a faster pace. The class is still based on the same movements, the foundations of the Pilates method, but the teacher monitors that each client practices at his or her individual level.

No two Pilates classes are alike, because the teacher always adapts each time to the client group as a whole. Therefore, a regular practice remains interesting, stimulating and rich.