Frequently Asked Questions

You might have a few questions before you get started so we've tried to answer some of the most common questions we get.
You are welcome to contact us with any specific questions you have.

What are the Pilates Principles ?

The Pilates Method was derived from what Joseph Pilates originally called Contrology. In 1945 Joseph Pilates published his first book Return to Life Through Contrology. Jospeh Pilates recognised that the motor functions of the brain controlled the mobility of the body.

It wasn't until the early 1980's that two students of Joseph's protege Romana Kryzanowska (Philip Friedman and Gail Eisen) published The Pilates Method of Physical and Mental Conditioning. It is this work that defined the six key Pilates principles.

Concentration: Pilates requires focus. Concentration combined with physical exercise can improve brain functions, memory as well as build new neural pathways to assist with ongoing mental development.

Control: Practiced well each Pilates movement requires control of the control of the entire body. There are no superfluous actions or breaths.

Centring: All movements in Pilates start from the Powerhouse/Core, which is the centre of the body.

Flow: Pilates sequences are designed to efficiently use energy and smoothly transition from one to the next.

Precision: It is considered better to perform one movement perfectly than to perform multiple repetitions of an action poorly.

Breathing: Oxygen intake and blood circulation have the ability to improve almost all physical conditions. There is a separate FAQ on breathing where you can find out more.

Ante and post natal Pilates ?

Pilates is an ideal form of exercise when pregnant and postpartum. We have had several clients that have continued doing Pilates, both Small Group and Personal Sessions right up to the week of birth. That stated we do not accept new clients into the Small Group Sessions unless they have been regularly doing Pilates at another studio that has a similar approach to Pilates.

What's your cancellation Policy

We require 24 hours notice to cancel a booking. Most of our Small Group sessions are fully booked and our Personal Sessions very much in demand. 24 hours notice enables us to fill the spot. We also understand that life is unpredictable and emergencies can occur. We are very tolerant when it comes to late cancellations and only apply the cancellation policy when we haven't been able to fill the spot.

I have a bad back, should I do Pilates?

Short answer; yes.

The longer answer is that many people have back and discs issues of some type which remain undiagnosed. If you have general back ache then Pilates will definitely be beneficial. If you have a diagnosed back condition, then Pilates can also help. Our approach and use of apparatus may be different depending on the diagnosis you have received. Lots of our clients have come to us specifically for back issues, you can read their stories on the client stories page.

My knees are problematic, will Pilates help?

The knee is simple hinge joint, however that is where the simplicity ends. It is a complex system of ligaments and tendons, bones and cartilage. Many people have knee issues. Luckily there are plenty of opportunities in the Pilates method to strengthen the knees and supporting musculature using the Reformer and other apparatus such as the Wunda Chair.

Does Pilates make you sweat?

Pilates works your deep muscles. Many people are surprised to find that yes, they sweat. The sweating in Pilates isn't the same as a surface sweat that you would get if running. The sweat can start in odd places, like palms, small of the back, top of the chest. It all depends on how deeply you can engage the Powerhouse/Core. So yes, you can sweat whilst doing Pilates. Once you advance through Pilates sequences then the chance of you breaking into an all over body surface sweat also increases.

Can I get ACC to cover the costs of Pilates ?

At present Pilates isn't generally recognised by ACC. That stated, we do have clients with specific back conditions for which Pilates has been recommended. In these cases those clients have discussed their recommendations with their ACC case manager and indeed are able to get their Personal Pilates sessions covered by ACC.

Is it like yoga?

There are many styles of yoga and to some extent styles of Pilates. We focus on an authentic approach to Pilates which can be neatly explained as Stretch and Strength with Control. Yoga will certainly stretch ligaments and muscles and requires control. The style of yoga will greatly impact on how the stretches are done and what area is focussed on. Styles like Ashtunga Yoga follow a strict sequence designed to develop the body. It is done in levelled sequences design to allow progression. Other forms of yoga focus more on stretching and is random in its approach to what the focus is for that day, sometimes hips, sometimes shoulders etc.

To some extent we teach Pilates in a similar way to the Ashtunga yoga approach. We work through the Basics in order to give you the strength to stretch yourself. The key focus in Plates is strength of the Powerhouse (core) and we use that strength to gain stretch. In this way you should never be stretched beyond a safe range for your ligaments and tendons, and received more of a muscle stretch.

We also focus on a full body conditioning process, Joseph Pilates described his exercises sequence as an internal shower. So by the end of the session each joint has been opened and closed, moved through a range of motion, your spine moved in flexion, extension and rotation, your lypmh nodes open and closed. Pilates is more than just exercise.

How often do I need to do Pilates?

Making the decision to become fitter is the first step. That decision may have been prompted by a health professional, personal goal, the media, friends etc.

Science is clear that exercise is a necessary part of maintaining a healthy body.

The level at which one needs to exercise, and the intensity, is difficult to determine. There is also much evidence that "non-exercise" exercise (walking the dog, garden work, house work etc) can make a significant impact.

In order to maintain the benefits derived from exercise is that you must accept that you need to continue to exercise to keep the benefits. You must make time for exercise that you enjoy so that you will keep doing it.

So, without sounding like a "salesman" .

Once a week will condition your body for other activities and serve as a maintenance program for the body, helping to prevent injuries, so is fine if you have other form of exercise in your life, or a physically demanding job.

Twice a week will provide the above benefits and strengthen your body and increase your flexibility.

Three times or more a week will not only maintain, strengthen and stretch the body,  but really start to transform your body.

What should I wear and do I need to bring anything?

You can wear whatever you are comfortable exercising in however there is no need for fancy exercise clothes.

We recommend comfortable loose fitting exercise clothes. Ideally shorts as it's great to be able to see the knees.

You can wear grip socks if you wish however we do not require socks (and nor do we sell them), Pilates is best done barefoot so we can see how the feet and toes are working.

Does Pilates help with weight loss?

The key to weight loss or control is first good nutrition, and then exercise.

Whilst Pilates is primarily not seen as a form of high cardio exercise it can get to that level when doing the Advance work.

However even at the Basic level Pilates will help with weight reduction in an interestingly way. During certain exercises Pilates moves muscles against internal organs, which leads a speeding up and efficiency of the digestive and other metabolic processes. Additionally regular Pilates will build stronger abdominal muscles giving you a leaner appearance.

What ages do you cater for?

Pilates is for people of all ages. Our client base ranges from 11 to late 80's.

We have many clients in their 70's that can "out do" clients half their age in many ways. We don't have set "seniors" classes however make sure we blend our clients into the appropriate session for the abilities and their needs.

For many reasons we don't have young people in our general Small Group sessions. Those under 18 need to do either Personal Sessions or Duet sessions.

Isn't it all about the breathing?

Joseph Pilates wrote "Breathing is the first act of life, and the last"

Most people use Diaphragmatic breathing as part of exercise. Diaphragmatic breathing is a natural and healthy way to breath, however we also need to learn Lateral breathing. Movements in Pilates can have specific breath patterns, often exhaling on the exertion or effort part of a movement. This can help the body from tensing . Effectively correct breathing can help lengthen the abdomen, broaden the upper back and help train the correct muscle recruitment for everyday core strength.

The lungs need to open front, back and to the sides. Many people breath too shallow or even hold their breath as they exercise, especially if new to Pilates, due to the concentrated effort of co-ordinating a movement based task. Muscles tense up when we hold our breath which can increase poor posture.

Proper breathing will allow flowing movements which are integral to Pilates.

That stated the focus on breathing within Pilates has become somewhat misconstrued.  The focus is on the exhale, he wrote "squeeze every atom of air from your lungs until they are almost as free of air as is a vacuum". However, not all exercises are breathing exercises. There are certain exercises deemed breathing exercises , when the breath is not the focus then smooth and deep exhalations and smooth inhalations are the key. Breathing is done through the nose, not the mouth. Some approaches to Pilates over emphasise the breath which leads to undue tension.

Is the core the same as the Powerhouse?

In Pilates we often refer to the core as a shortcut reference to what is The Powerhouse.

The Powerhouse is all the abdominal muscles, including the obliques, and the muscles of the buttocks and sides of the legs. We use the Powerhouse to hold and control the torso as a centre from which to move or stretch. It is the Powerhouse which gives us strength and overtime corrects our posture and holds the spine correctly.

I have a large body, is Pilates for me?

People of all sizes, shapes, and ages take Pilates classes. Among the significant benefits of Pilates for plus size and overweight people is that it increases the strength and coordination of the muscles of the Powerhouse/Core. The muscles that support our spine and organs. When the core is strong, alignment and posture improve, relieving stress on the joints and muscles.

Pilates is done on a mat or on various types of Pilates equipment. Either way, mat or equipment, Pilates exercises are m done lying down, sitting, and sometimes kneeling. These positions make Pilates exercises well-suited for larger people who may not be comfortable standing for long periods or in exercise systems that require a lot of shifts of weight.

In addition, Pilates exercises can be modified for different levels and physical needs.

Do you run Pilates Teacher Training?

There are many things to consider before undertaking Teacher Training.

It is import to understand the distinction between learning Pilates exercises, or learning the Pilates Method/System. They are all very different things.

It is vastly different to learn a modification of an exercise which is needed for a specific issue, as opposed to learning an exercise which is a modification that has become an exercise and deemed "beginner" as it's "easier".

The studio has experience in all the major international schools of Pilates, and is aware of all nationally and locally offered training programs.

If you are interested in Teacher Training we encourage you to give us a call and we can discuss the pro's and con's of what's on offer.

Contact Us

Interested in finding out more about The Pilates Loft or booking a class?