You wouldn't visit a doctor or dentist who was unqualified, so too should you question whoever you choose as an instructor before you decide to join them. The following frequently asked questions may be of help:

1. What kind of training do you have?

Because Pilates is a knowledge-based method of exercise, the most qualified teachers are those who have completed a programme such as the STOTT PILATES® Comprehensive or Intensive Certification programmes, which have a functional anatomy component and incorporate significant hands-on practice.

2. Why should I do Pilates?

The method of exercise offers a no-stress approach to better posture and stronger, leaner muscles. It’s the perfect complement to aerobic exercise or can be used to help you get back on your feet after an injury.

3. What kind of benefits can I expect?

Many! Essentially, the no-impact, neuromuscular technique is designed to improve posture, strengthen and lengthen muscles without adding bulk. An emphasis on breathing leaves you feeling refreshed, not exhausted.

4. Is the STOTT PILATES method different from the original Pilates exercises?

STOTT PILATES teaches a contemporary approach to the original method of exercise developed by Joseph Pilates in the 1920s – one that preserves the essence of the original technique but incorporates modern biomechanical knowledge. Have a look at the 'What is Stott Pilates' page for more detailed information.

5. How often should I do pilates?

For the best results, STOTT PILATES recommends three one-hour sessions per week.

6. Do you emphasise pelvic and shoulder girdle stabilization and “neutral” posture?

Not all instructors do. The STOTT PILATES approach incorporates these contemporary concepts because they are integral to developing core strength and restoring the natural curves of the spine. This is an important departure from the original pilates system and many other popular forms of fitness.

7. What kind of equipment do you use?

Many of the exercises can be done on a mat, but, for the full effect, exercises should incorporate specially designed resistance equipment, like the STOTT PILATES Fitness Circle® exerciser, Reformer and Trapeze Table.

8. Should I take private or group classes?

It depends on what you like and can afford. Because of the technique’s extensive repertoire and complexity, it is necessary to have a private session to assess posture and to ensure that each client has a knowledge of the basic Stott principles before joining a Matwork class. A teacher to student ratio no larger than 1:12 is ideal for Matwork classes and you should be encouraged to work at your own pace. Private studio sessions are ideal for those with back problems, injuries and those who who wish to progress their fitness levels at a faster pace.

9. How much is a class?

Matwork classes ares run for courses of approximately 5-8 weeks. These must be pre-booked and paid for in advance and cost £10 per session. Private Studio sessions are £40 for one hour of individual private instruction - £50 for 2 people. Prices correct as of January 2011 but please contact us for further details at later dates.

10. Can I do the exercises at home?

Yes, but proper instruction and quality equipment are essential. STOTT PILATES’ introductory Matwork videos, such as Basic Pilates and The Secret to Flat Abs, and quality equipment will help get you started.

11. Am I too old to start Pilates?

There is no age limit (my eldest client is 86 years young!) and the versatility of the system lends itself well to the older market. If getting down onto the floor is a problem, many equipment pieces are positioned at a comfortable bed level. If being horizontal is disorientating there are plenty of moves performed in a seated position. The resistance on the Reformer or the Trapeze Table can be easily adjusted by spring tension. If back pain is an issue, supportive pieces such as the Arc Barrel and the Stability Chair can be deployed.

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