So you are ready to learn some Pilates!
1. Wear something that you are comfortable in. Something that allows you to move freely. Shorts do not lend themselves well to Pilates as some movements such as leg circles encourage you to use your full range of motion. No socks or tennis shoes, you should have bare feet.
2. Find a nice Yoga Mat that is not too thick or too thin. I like to buy a colour that I like, that makes me feel good. Try to buy a colour that inspires you, after all if you don't like your Yoga Mat then you will not want to look at it very often!
3. Take a small towel along with you. This is for your head. Most people need a little support under their heads to prevent strain on their necks. If you do need a towel do not place it under your neck. Place it under your head. Ask your Pilates instructor if it is placed correctly. Your towel will not be needed for every exercise. Your towel will provide correct cervical placement during some exercises. A towel can also be used under the hip bone area when laying on your belly to make your more comfortable.
4. Find a Pilates instructor who is certified in the Pilates method. There are some great organizations that offer certification courses that cover very important information. Check to see if your instructor has received more than one day's worth of instruction. If you perform the Pilates exercises and do not incorporate the basic principles then you are not executing the movements correctly. Your instructor should explain these principles to you and help you focus on these as you perform each exercise.
5. Don't worry if you cannot remember the names of all of the exercises at first. Your instructor knows them all and will guide you through them.
6. Try to concentrate and not chat with your best friend as you really need to be focusing on your movement and breathing.
Interested in joining other women who are starting a new exercise regime?
Check out Go Red For Women which highlights the need for us ladies to introduce more physical exercise into our lives. This is the American Heart Association's website. You can join others on their forum to discuss, meet an exercise buddy or view heart healthy information. Heart disease is still the number ONE killer of women in the USA.
7. Remember also that if you are trying to lose weight then you also need to have a sensible diet and ideally incorporate some aerobic activity into your week. Walking is a great start. These ten Pilates tips are to here to help bring your attention back to the basics. Even when you are walking or standing in line, you can practice the pelvic floor lift. Soon engaging your muscles prior to movement becomes second nature.
8. Practice at home even if you are only practicing your breathing and your Hundreds at first with a little bit of stretching.
9. Try to take two mat classes a week.
10. Last but not least, paint those toe nails you'll be seeing a lot of your bare feet in the weeks to come. HAVE FUN!
I hope that these valuable ten Pilates tips encourage you and help enjoy your first few Pilates lessons!