In my humble opinion, Pilates is one of the most effective ways to work your entire body safely. With regular practice, you’ll develop a stronger, more flexible and more toned body. It addresses postural problems, improves balance and co-ordination and relieves pain and tension.
As long as you are working with a well trained instructor, these benefits are relevant to any type of Pilates class you choose to join – mat classes, equipment classes, group classes or individual classes.
Each type of class will have its own set of benefits and each person will have their own specific preferences and needs. With this in mind, I would like to go into a bit more detail about individual Pilates classes. Below I have listed a few reasons why individual Pilates classes may be better suited to some more than others.
1. They allow you to work on your own specific strengths and weaknesses
An individual Pilates class is a great way for an instructor to plan a class according to your specific strengths and weaknesses. This will ensure that a class includes exercises that your body needs, focusing on any muscular imbalances, tightness in certain areas and weak muscles that need to be strengthened.
2. Rehab for an injury or post-op is safer in an individual Pilates class
When an injury is present or rehab is required post-op, it is best to work slowly and carefully, taking into consideration all that needs to be done to protect yourself from further injury or hampering the recovery process. This is most effective in an individual Pilates class because the instructor can watch you constantly, he or she can work with your practitioner to understand what is required during the rehabilitation process as well as plan classes accordingly.
3. You will notice results quicker
When you spend time doing a class completely focused on your own specific needs and developing your strength in a tailored class, you will notice the difference in how quickly your body improves and how it respond to new challenges. Exercises that were previously a bit tough and perhaps felt slightly out of reach, start feeling achievable and together with your instructor, you can start making sense of it to the point where that aha! moment arrives and your body kicks in and just does it!
4. Classes can be performed at your own pace/level
Sometimes you will come to a class a little low on energy levels and just feel like a good stretch and if you listen to your body it might tell you that you should just be taking it easy today. This is not always easy to do when you’re part of a group class and the rest of the class is feeling energetic and ready for a challenge! An individual Pilates class is perfect for those who like to be in control of the level and intensity that they work their bodies at.
5. You can put in your very own special requests
Sometimes when we’re being hard on ourselves and having a bad day, certain body parts feel a bit more wobbly than others. In these situations, it’s always nice to know that you have a trainer waiting for you who is always happy for you to request a tummy focused class or a bum focused class. An individual Pilates class allows this freedom to request specific focus points and specific exercises that you enjoy doing and that make you feel good!
6. A relationship of understanding, trust, loyalty and friendship between you and your instructor is easier to build during individual Pilates classes
Spending 1, 2, 3 or more hours per week with your instructor generally tends to build a relationship between the two of you based on more than just your class for the day. Your instructor becomes the person who will always listen when you have something on your mind. It will no longer just feel like your exercise class you need to get to, but once a relationship like this is established, it becomes a relationship based on trust, loyalty and friendship that becomes an important part of your life.
7. You can ensure a quieter environment
Everyone has their preferences and if a quiet, calm and peaceful environment is yours, perhaps individual Pilates classes are better suited to you. It’s difficult to have any control over who is in a group class with you and if you’re placed in a chatty, bubbly class, you might find yourself feeling a bit frustrated by this. While some thrive on this kind of social environment, if it’s quiet time you’re after from your Pilates practice, individual Pilates classes are definitely for you!
8. You’ll enjoy some REAL “me-time”
Individual Pilates classes allow you to spend an hour focusing specifically on your own body. While being supervised by an instructor whose main focus is to get the most out of your body during that class that is safely possible, you have the freedom to take some time to understand how your body feels and responds to certain exercises and stretches, and find the perfect adjustments to make them just right for you. This has to be one of the most satisfying hours you can spend on yourself. It truly is time spent doing something good for yourself!
These are a few of the reasons why individual Pilates classes might be right for you. Individual classes are usually a good place to start, so once you’ve found a suitable studio, sign yourself up for individual classes and start enjoying classes tailored specifically to suit your needs and see where they take you!