For people wishing to study Pilates, group classes are an economical option. Group classes are best for people who have studied the method for a long time with a private instructor so that they are able to work independently within a group setting, understand the fundamentals of the exercises, and know the basic principles that hold true throughout the workouts. Without this prior knowledge and practice, group classes will probably not give people the full benefits of the Pilates method. In fact, they may even get injured.
A few people have told me they took Pilates to help their low back pain, but ended up no better or even worse. When I inquired further, it turns out that invariably they have been taking group classes.
At Brace Point Pilates, I believe the best way that I can help my clients achieve their fitness goals, whether they be to get rid of back pain, gain core strength, or become a better athlete, is to focus on one person at a time through private sessions. Each individual has a unique body with unique strengths and weaknesses. No two workouts are the same – each client has a program designed specifically to meet their particular needs. During sessions, I constantly watch, evaluate and improve the client’s form, posture and technique. I use both verbal and hands-on cues to help them become aware of their body and how to improve function, both during the session and beyond into daily life. Yes, it costs more up front, but the results speak for themselves: my clients benefit from my 20+ years of teaching experience and quickly realize their health and fitness goals.
Of course, cost is an issue for many of us, so if group classes are the best option for your pocketbook, at least consider periodically taking a private session with a qualified instructor to hone your technique and make sure you are performing the exercises properly both to avoid injury and to gain the most out of your Pilates practice.