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What is Pilates?

Developed by Joseph Pilates, it is a mind-body exercise system performed on the mat or specific Pilates equipment. If practiced with consistency, Pilates improves flexibility, builds strength and develops control, and endurance in the entire body. It puts emphasis on alignment, breathing, improving coordination and balance, and developing a strong core. The core, consisting of the muscles of the abdomen, low back and hips, is often called the "powerhouse". Strengthening the core develops stability throughout the entire torso and helps to elongate the spine. A stable trunk also helps to free up the joints and move with control and efficiently. The goal of Pilates is to develop a body that is both strong and flexible, and it has certain qualities of movement, such as being centered and balanced; fluid yet controlled.

Can I claim Pilates on private health insurance?

Unfortunately, due to regulatory changes to Natural Therapies cover, the answer is no. As of 1 April 2019, Pilates —alongside Yoga, Naturopathy and Reflexology is no longer eligible for heath care rebate under any private health insurance extras policy.

I can't get up from the floor without help. I can't kneel without pain. Can I still do Pilates?

There are many ways to modify and adapt Pilates exercises, depending on your age, weight, physical ability, and level of fitness. The exercises are designed with modifications so that people of all levels and abilities can stay safe while being physically challenged. As long as your GP or Medical Specialist has cleared you for exercise, Pilates is a great way to help you move better and challenge your  movement limitations. However, if you have specific needs, I would suggest to book at least a couple of one-on-one studio sessions, so you can be looked after properly and your instructor can make sure not to aggravate your symptoms.

I am pregnant. Is Pilates good for me?

Absolutely! Pilates can be a great way to  keep active while your body is changing during pregnancy as long as you and your baby are happy and healthy. With its large repertoire of exercises, there are plenty of options and modifications for every stage of pregnancy. As your body is changing so will your exercise program. An open dialogue with your teacher is most important to adapt the program to what feels good to you. In any case, I advise to talk to your GP or Obstetrician before starting Pilates during this time.

Pilates postpartum, when can I start?

Carrying out Pilates-style exercises will improve healing and aid recovery, improve posture, strengthen the muscles weakened from pregnancy and delivery, and Improve global muscle strength. This will help prepare your body physically to return to the level of function and physical activity that you hope for. However, it is recommended to wait till at least after 6 weeks postpartum before you return to general Pilates classes. Check with your GP and Pelvic health Physiotherapist if you have any concerns about your wound, healing or recovery.

I've just injured myself/ come out of surgery, can I see you for Rehab?

No. The scope of my practice lies in post-rehab, injury prevention and general mobility. If you are experiencing acute pain post injury (joint dislocation, disk injury etc.) you are best to see your GP or Physio to look after you in this immediate phase post injury. Once you are past the main recovery and it is time to build strength and mobility you are good to do Pilates (with permission from your practitioner). If you have had surgery you should wait 2-3 months (depending on the type f surgery) before starting regular exercise again and you will need the OK from your health professional before you start.


How often do I need to do Pilates to see change?

Well, there is no definitive answer to that, but to learn a new skill you will need repetition. Jo Pilates' original schedule was 3x per week for 2hr sessions!!! Not many people will have the time or money to do that. However, regular practice is important to see results and condition the body. But it is also important to learn the exercises properly. So I suggest, visit a studio, find a good teacher who can give you corrections and helps you deepen your understanding about the method. Try this for 10 sessions and you will feel a difference in your body.

How often you go to a studio in a week depends on your schedule and budget. Generally speaking, twice a week is a good start. If you can't get to a studio twice a week, do it once a week and ask for homework. If you are time poor, try out 15 minute workouts every second day and you will see the difference quickly. Like with anything, you will get out, what you put in, but it has to fit in with your daily life. The last thing you want is getting stressed out about doing exercise. And don't forget, you can do online classes and workouts online. As a boutique studio, I offer some videos and homework guidance to my regular clients.

Mat versus Studio, what's the deal?

OK, I am busting the myth: Mat Pilates is way harder than Studio Pilates! WHAAAT?

Yes, it's true. When performing exercises on the mat, you won't get any assistance. Your muscles have to do all the hard work all by themselves, mostly against gravity and if done properly you will feel the burn instantly. It's great for flow and cardio workouts and integration of functional movement, especially in standing exercises.

Using studio equipment, can be more gentle as the resistance from the straps on the reformer or the paddles on the chair can help you through the movement. This is great if you haven't done any exercise in a while or if you have movement limitations. Another perk of using equipment is that it helps you to find that proper posture and your body is less likely to compensate (cheat) throughout the movement. This will make it safer to exercise but also more challenging as we target the weak areas. Having said that this, equipment can also be used in a more fitness and flow practice, once the body is familiar with how to move and use the equipment safely.

I think both are important and I like to mix them up for my own practice because once you've done equipment for a while it can make you a bit lazy.

How is Pilates different from Yoga?

Just briefly, Yoga is traditionally an ancient spiritual practice of connecting the mind and body through the breath, whereas Pilates is a system of exercises that emphasizes core engagement to promote functional movement of the body.

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