So, you have made the leap to try Pilates and signed up for your first lesson. The apparatus can be intimidating and some of the exercises seem impossible. Don’t fret. Your instructor should begin with the question, “Why are you here?” Then proceed to, “do you have any injuries or issues I should know of? ” Be sincere when asked these questions, you wouldn’t want to injure yourself further by hiding any past issues.

Listen to the instructor and try to follow the directions remember, for most people this is a very different form of exercise and just take the lesson in stride. You may hear a few terms that are unfamiliar such as scoop, squeeze, lift, powerhouse, wrap the thighs and box.

Scoop: to pull the abdominals toward the spine and lift simultaneously

Squeeze: tightening your bottom from underneath

Lift: to sit as tall as you can with your Powerhouse scooped in and squeezing your bottom

Powerhouse: the area in which Pilates focuses on. The whole body is controlled with the strength of the Powerhouse.

Wrap the thighs: to squeeze the inner thighs together. Imagine holding a dollar bill in your inner thighs, try not to lock your knees!

Box: the points from shoulder to shoulder and hip to hip, form a box

Throughout the lesson you may visit the Reformer and practice the Mat work. The Reformer is sometimes thought of as the “Rack” from Medieval times. Yes, it will stretch you out but only as much as you push the machine and the use of your Powerhouse. The Mat work is the heart and soul of the Method, this should be practiced at every lesson if not, daily. When learning the Mat work, there are a few “no, no’s” for the first time, such as no rolling, twisting or use of the magic circle. Being that your relationship with your instructor has just begun, safety is the first requisite and you should enjoy your first lesson. Once the instructor gets to know your body and you begin to feel comfortable with the exercises and your Powerhouse gets stronger, then you proceed to harder exercises.

At the end of the lesson finishing with the Wall or alignment exercise will be done. You should finish feeling strong, long and energized!