Pilates is no longer confined to the mat. There are now Reformer, Megaformer and Superformer classes. They all build flexibility and stability, and create long, lean, beautiful muscles. Pilates is often used for the prevention and treatment of back pain, and is great for those recovering from injury. But in the more advanced classes there’s a greater chance of getting hurt, so it’s important that you practice safely.
Before you begin a Pilates class, do your research. There are a variety of classes offered, so it’s important to find the one best suited for you. For example, if you are recovering from a back injury, you definitely don’t want to do a Megaformer class. Be sure you go to a reputable studio and that the teacher is certified. Read reviews, look at a studio’s website, and be prepared for what you’re getting into before you step onto the mat or reformer.
Form is essential in Pilates. Bad form can lead to many types of injuries. Keep it in the core and don’t put any strain on your back and neck. This contributes to the most common types of injuries in Pilates. If your core isn’t strong enough yet, modify. Put your knees down while doing a plank, or don’t go so far in a squat or a lunge. If you start to feel any pain in a pose, be sure to alert the teacher and ask him or her to check your form. Most importantly, always listen to your body.
Especially if you’re a beginner, you don’t want to jump right into a Pilates class. It’s best to take it slow until you’re familiar with the poses. If you’ve never done Pilates before, don’t start with a Megaformer class. Take a regular reformer class to get used to the equipment and then you can work your way up. And it’s best that you don’t look around and compare yourself with other students, otherwise, you may go too deep too soon. There are people of all ages and all levels. Do what you can do according to your own personal needs, not theirs.