Pilates is a full-body workout designed to target every muscle group. It increases your ability to maintain your perfect posture. It is low-impact and so can be done by anyone. It’s an exercise form that uses both the mind and the body. It also uses breathing to facilitate movement.
Pilates aims to increase muscle strength, posture and flexibility. It emphasizes the use of core strength. Using your core correctly is fundamental to reducing back pain.
Who Started Pilates?
Pilates was started by Joseph Pilates. Joseph had a lifelong interest in body conditioning. He was considered a frail child suffering. He suffered from numerous conditions including; rickets, asthma and rheumatic fever.
He improved his health and physique by studying anatomy and various forms of exercise. Joseph originally called the exercise form, Contrology and it only became known as ‘Pilates’ after his death in 1967. He was 83 years old at the time of his death in New York.
Mat vs Equipment
This is one of the many debates in Pilates. Should you be doing a mat class or an equipment class. Well, folks, they both have benefits. The equipment in question the Wanda chairs or Reformers have straps, springs and pulleys to facilitate muscle lengthening and strengthening. Whereas mat classes typically use nothing or smaller props like bands, balls or blocks.
Neither is better, but generally, I’d recommend that everyone start with mat classes. These are cheaper and more widely available.
I’m by no means discounting the Pilates breathing however, the most important thing is that you breath! If it’s not perfect don’t worry. Rather worry about your form than where your breath is at. Don’t stress, the breathing will come with time.
Can Men Do Pilates?
ABSOLUTELY. Yes, they can. In fact, at one point in my career, I had more male clients than women. I almost think men need Pilates more than women. This is because generally they are less flexible and struggle more with the mind-body connection.
One of my favourite lines from a male client was
“Before I came to a Pilates class I didn’t realize how hard I’d have to work. Previously I couldn’t even sit on the floor comfortably, now I can sit and play with my son for ages”
Choosing A Pilates Teacher In Gaborone
Pilates has been around for a long time so there are now various training schools and subtypes of Pilates. When choosing a Pilates teacher, it is like choosing a pair of shoes, what you like someone else might not.
My style of teaching is not as intense as other people. I personally prefer a longer-term approach to that of other teachers. This neither makes me better or worse than other teachers. Just different.
However, there are some hard and fast rules when choosing a Pilates instructor. The biggest is qualifications. Like I said earlier there are different schools of teaching, these include Stott Pilates, Basi, Polestar and Windsor. There are lots of others.
There is nothing wrong with you asking your teacher what their qualifications actually are. After all, you don’t want someone who has done a week’s course messing with your body. There is nothing wrong with asking what method they follow and how long their course was.
Unfortunately, there is no governing body for Pilates in Botswana, which means people can announce they are a Pilates teacher after a weekend course compared to that of someone that studied for months. Scary stuff.
Look there is no easy way to say this, Pilates isn’t cheap. Class prices across Gaborone vary from P50 to P350 a single class. This is either based on the class size, or the equipment used.
What Do I Wear?
Clothes. Haha. You can do Pilates in pretty much anything but generally, a good pair of sweat pants and a comfy top are all you need. Don’t worry about footwear as you’ll be wearing no shoes in your class.
Pilates Instructors In Gaborone
Disclaimer: I don’t know if everyone on this list’s qualifications. Please check for yourself.
If you want to do some Pilates by yourself have a look at our article about Pilates at Home- 5 exercises to Strengthen Your Core.