Over the past 10 years, Pilates has grown from a relatively unknown holistic therapy into a worldwide phenomenon. Its journey to the mainstream was helped by celebrity endorsements, but the many benefits that come from practising it was the main driving force.
Its holistic methodology works wonders for muscles, pain management, stress relief and general mental and physical fitness. There’s plenty of substance to back up the hype, which is why Pilates is now regularly recommended by doctors, physios and fitness professionals.
The important thing to remember is that Pilates is difficult, and if it isn’t taught correctly it can cause more damage than it fixes. A growing market means lots of classes to choose from, and finding a reputable instructor to keep you on the right track is more important than ever.
With this in mind, we’ve identified five signs that’ll help you find a trustworthy teacher.
Sign one: a qualification
Self-taught Pilates experts might know every move but they probably don’t appreciate the physical science behind them. Only someone with the proper education will understand the technical reasoning, and that knowledge is what lets them teach it safely.
There are lots of online Pilates instructor courses, so there’s no excuse for any teachers who don’t have the qualifications to back up their talk.
Sign two: set up time
When you walk into a class the instructor should spend time welcoming you and every other participant, and it’s not just for the sake of politeness. It’s a way for them to check if anyone has any extra needs – like an injury – that they should be aware of.
Another thing to look out for is thorough advice on neutral spine alignment at the start of every session. Any Pilates tutor worth their salt knows that perfect posture is the only way to ensure safe and injury-free progress.
Sign three: breathing exercises
Pilates relies on a mixture of active breathing, lateral breathing and set breathing patterns, and you should be regularly reminded about using the correct technique throughout the class.
A lack of breathing instruction is a red flag that your trainer isn’t very good at their job, and you shouldn’t be looking to them for future lessons.
Sign four: they teach using cues
The important information and instruction should be gotten out of the way before the class starts, and unless the instructor is dealing with beginners or someone having difficulties they should be teaching using simple cues.
This means they should be able to communicate what muscle to move – as well as how and when– with careful and precise instructions.
Sign five: an obvious passion
Being a good instructor is more than just speaking knowledgeably, they also need to be engaged and passionate about Pilates.
The tutor you want to learn from is the one that’s been inspired to teach because of their own personal experience, not someone who’s only running the class because it’s good for business. Asking them about why they started teaching will quickly give you the answer.
Keep an eye out for these five signs and you’ll be feeling the benefits of Pilates in no time at all.