Do you have questions about West Cork Pilates or the Pilates Method?

Check out these answers to our most frequently asked questions. If you still need help you can get in touch via the contact form.

I try to start beginners in beginner classes where possible to ensure the basic principles are grasped fully. Where this is not possible I can see all new beginners for at least one private session first. It is essential that the method is taught safely in order for the practitioner to gain the fullest benefits.

No. While many yoga practitioners will find some of the Pilates exercises familiar, the approach is different. The breathing is very specific to Pilates and the movements within a Pilates class are focused on the individual’s requirements as the aim with Pilates is to strengthen the core and achieve re-alignment of the body. Pilates can complement Yoga by helping you to strengthen your core and become more aware of your body physically. Pilates is very grounding.

No! You are never too old to take up or practice Pilates. Romana Kyranowska, one of Joseph Pilates students, now in her late 80’s is still practicing the method and performing exercises that many 20 year olds would find too challenging. I have had many people in their seventies undertake courses of Pilates with me and find great benefits. Pilates in older age is particularly beneficial in maintaining bone health, joint mobility and flexibility!

Pilates was developed by a man, Joseph Pilates, who was very much a man’s man, and initially it was used for training military police and boxers. He realized that flexibility was an essential component of physical health and it is this component that many men neglect favouring their strength rather than their flexibility. This often leads to excessively tight muscles which in turn leads to some of the most common problems for men such as back-pain, tight hamstrings and neck and shoulder tension and pain. One to two hours a week of Pilates is of great benefit in keeping the back healthy even if no other exercise is taken. Currently I teach one class a week for men only.

Core strength is the foundation stone of modern sports training. For some years now Pilates has been used to attain this and Pilates is being utilized across a wide variety of disciplines from rugby to G.A.A., golf, soccer and into the individual sports. Cardio fitness and natural skill can reach full potential when the body is in the correct alignment with proper muscular balance which is brought about through the extensive core-strengthening of Pilates. Indeed some sports actively lead to muscle imbalance generally through overuse of one particular part of the body, re-balancing of this is of great benefit in the prevention of injury.

I require that you get clearance from your medical practitioner once you realize you are pregnant. I teach a special modified version of Pilates for pregnancy, the most important thing to know is that once you are into your second trimester there should be no flexing of the abdominals or lifting of the head in order to ensure the integrity of the rectus abdominus muscle among other things. I have taught women up to 35 weeks, how long you continue with the program is largely down to your own energy levels provided the pregnancy is going according to plan. Post-baby, once there have been no complications and you have had clearance from your doctor it is generally safe to resume your Pilates three months after the birth.

Yes it will help in conjunction with a healthy diet and an aerobic fitness regime. As you get the more advance moves in Pilates there is a fat-burning component however in the beginning Pilates tends to be gentle. Working on the reformer can also be a better fat-burner than matwork due to the addition of resistance.  But with both matwork and the reformer many people notice toning benefits after six sessions particularly around the abdominal region. Pilates alone though will not cause you to lose weight.

If you are unable to attend a group class, I try to facilitate you in another class during the term, provided space is available. Due to limited space however I try to encourage people to only miss a class where it’s unavoidable. Cancellation of private sessions within 24 hours will be charged at 50% of the session cost.

During the mat classes we use magic circles and resistance bands in order to gain greater focus and intensity from the class. These are provided during the session though you are welcome to bring your own. Mats also are provided. One to one sessions are mat-based or done on the reformer a piece of equipment manufactured by Gratz Pilates the original company employed by Joseph Pilates to produce his equipment.

Wear comfortable clothing, with no restriction around the waist. Pilates is normally practiced in socks or barefoot.

Everybody is different, depending on your levels of fitness or your history of injury. I often say that we are all beginners for at least a year especially if coming from a relatively sedentary basis or from being injured. As I feel people are developing I move them to different levels or introduce exercises of greater difficulty to the class. We never remain on a plateau, this is the antithesis of Pilates, we are always moving! How frequently you practice is a major determinant in how quickly you develop, those who do two classes a week will naturally progress at a faster rate.

Pilates is well known as a method that is hugely beneficial for those who have experienced pain or injury, particularly in the back, and Pilates-based exercises are frequently used by physiotherapists in injury rehabilitation programmes. Please discuss the fact that you’re undertaking Pilates with your medical practitioner to ensure it is safe for you to do so. I have had much experience with all types of back injuries and general injury and many clients report great relief upon undertaking Pilates with me. I recommend a few one-to-one sessions before entering a class scenario in order to assess the full extent of the injury and to find the safest positions to speed your rehabilitation.

No. The Pilates method is very precise and takes time to grasp. Pilates is a journey into understanding and developing your body. The average course length is between six and ten weeks and in my experience it can take the full length of the course for some people to really click with Pilates. Once the method is grasped it changes your awareness of your body for good.

Unfortunately, I can only give full refunds for group classes or private sessions in a situation where I have to unavoidably cancel the class or session due to illness or unforeseen circumstances.