Things that only happen at Pilates

what really happens at a pilates class

Hey guys, we’re just hanging in the Pilates studio, nothing embarrassing happening here

Certain things happen at Pilates that normally stay in the Pilates class. You get yourself into all kinds of weird positions. Events take place. There is a silent understanding that those events will go no further than the class door. Until now.

That’s right – I’m lifting the lid on the Pilates studio to reveal what really takes place in a Pilates class! Some good some bad – all part of the process. Here we go:

1. *ALL* body parts are freely discussed by the Pilates instructor

a doubletake

You’re about to get pretty familiar with your pelvic floor. It’s one reason why Pilates is such good exercise for mums. You need to “engage your pelvic floor” through the exercises, which basically means tightening those muscles that can stop the flow mid-pee. But I’ve encountered Pilates instructors who have no qualms asking you to “close your back passage” and “zip up openings one and two for the ladies” or “locate your pubic bone”. Game faces, people.

2. You get into some less-than dignified poses

cat pose

The idea is to retain an air of elegance and integrity throughout the class, like a ballerina. Which means you need to stick your bum into the air like you mean it! This is no time to be self conscious. Even if there are moments when the room is full of adults on their backs, legs apart, knees bent to the sides with toes touching and crotches proudly on display. TIP: Make sure those leggings stay see through from behind when you touch your toes! And wear pants the same colour. No-one would comment, but this isn’t the time to be wondering if everyone can see your underwear…

3. Exercise equipment can be harder to control than you think

exercise ball fail

The equipment you get to use at Pilates  – resistance bands, blocks and exercise balls – really pleases my inner child. It feels less like exercise and more like messing about. But you need to concentrate – these things can be deceptive. I have accidentally slingshotted my resistance band across the class and kicked my small exercise ball across the room. People fail to catch the balls thrown out by the instructor all the time, which can be mildly embarrassing. Stay vigilant.

4. Bodies relax around you, sometimes with a soundtrack


We were all in full body stretch, enjoying the relief of the last exercise ending. We were all relaxed. And we all heard it. That little trump from the other side of the room. Protocol dictates that you continue lying in the position as though nothing happened, eyes closed or still firmly fixed on the ceiling. Ok – you can allow yourself a quiet chuckle – but that’s all. It can happen to the best of us.

5. You curse inwardly for forgetting to bring your own mat again

what really happens at a pilates class

When you’re lying face down on a mat in the studio with the old equipment, you really regret not bringing your own from home. There’s nothing like the smell of other people’s feet to jog your memory. Set a phone reminder next time! Communal mats aren’t always that bad and good places do clean them. But sometimes, choosing a mat can be a bit like smelly foot Russian roulette.

6. You discover that one side of your body is less flexible than the other (but that’s ok)

leg stretch pilates

Bit of a blurry gif, but I think this might be Cassie Ho demonstrating a Pilates leg stretch

Pilates is a way to heal your body by strengthening it. We pick up imbalances and muscle weaknesses through life – sitting a desk all day, sporting injuries, carrying babies on hips – and Pilates is a way to work all those muscles and balance them out again. Yes, that might mean that you can hardly balance on one side when you first try a new move. But stick with it and you’ll gain stability, get better and ease aches and pains. That’s what happens at a Pilates class.

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