What’s the Deal with Initial Sessions?

My first introduction to Pilates was a mat class at my local gym. I was one of about 30 students in the class and the movements we did that day were what the instructor had planned ahead of time. With 29 other students, it would have been nearly impossible for her to give me hands on attention as a newbie to Pilates. She began class by going over a few basics of Pilates and then we were off and moving. I did my best to follow along and mimic what the instructor was doing. I also looked to the students on either side of me. (note: This is really not the best approach … if you don’t know what you are doing you also don’t know if the person next to you is doing it right, either! You may well be copying her incorrect form!) 

After attending this mat class regularly for several months, I thought I knew Pilates. Knowing what I know now, I can say the was instructor was very good but I was not! It is no fault of the instructor that I did many things wrong. In many cases I missed the intent of a movement. I felt work. I saw results but I was not working deep in my body. I was allowing my strong running and spinning muscles to make up for a very weak core post abdominal surgery.

When I decided to try the equipment – specifically the Reformer, I was surprised to learn I would need to do some private lessons or initial sessions. I thought – why? I know Pilates and I’ve used gym equipment. How different can it be? Oh boy … I was about to find out!

I require initial sessions for my new students. I believe it is essential. Even if you have come from another studio or like me have done mat Pilates. I have no way of knowing until we work together what you really know and what is going on with your body. Not everyone teaches the same. Not everyone learns the same. I always ask my students if they have issues or injuries with their bodies, or goals we should work on. It is amazing what is forgotten until we are mid session. This is usually the moment a student will say – “Oh I have had two C-sections but that was a few years ago.” Still important to know! Or “I have low back pain but doesn’t everyone?”  Nope – doesn’t have to be that way. Or maybe you are an advanced student, these initial sessions are where I learn just how far I can take you so you feel challenged and continue to progress.

The initial sessions are really for you and all about you! I hope you see them as a treat not a hassle. It’s your time to be one on one with the instructor and ask any and all questions you have. Even questions that maybe are not quite about Pilates – go ahead and ask. It’s your time to try new things, learn the equipment, establish goals, and discover your body better. I don’t have a set ‘initial class’ I teach. So much depends on you, your body and your abilities on that day. I hope to show you a variety of movements and explain Pilates if you are new to it but we may go in a different direction if you are rehabbing an injury, have a chronic condition or are prenatal/postpartum. What I learn about you influences what I’ll do with you in future classes be they private or group classes. Where I see weakness, we’ll find ways to work. Where I see you are ready for a challenge, we’ll bring the challenge.

Pilates is most effective when it is personalized for you. Initial sessions allow me to personalize your Pilates experience. And if it’s been a while – come on in for a private so we can once again make it all about you!

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