I asked if it was a beginner class and too her that the teacher probably wanted her to learn the basics before moving on to more challenging exercises for safety and effectiveness. She said that it was a beginner/intermediate class and that she thought it would be a bit more challenging. She was obviously a bit disappointed. I asked her if she mentioned that to the teacher. The answer was no.
It was too fast and she wasn’t understanding what to do. She had purchased 3 private lessons but was’t going back for the third because she was afraid of getting hurt. I asked her if she talked to the teacher about her experience. She said no.
Here we have two very different experiences. It sounds like the student/teacher pairs should be switched. But that’s not really the answer. Communication is key. Every teacher has her/his own philosophy and teaching style. Some teachers offer greater challenge sooner, some are more cautious and go slowly. At my studio we try to ask a lot of questions before, during and after the session to see how our clients are doing. We try to understand the client’s goals and strive to meet them.
As a Pilates teacher sometimes it’s hard to “read” my students. I am working with two clients who grimace a lot. It looks like they are in pain. But when I ask if something hurts they say “no”. They are just concentrating or the physical exertion is showing up on his face. This is good and we can keep going. Conversely, I have worked with clients who have smiled through the whole workout and later tell me it was too hard or something didn’t “feel right”.
Pilates is very personalized, even in a group class. Pilates is never boring or mundane. It should never be so challenging that you are afraid of getting hurt or so easy that you don’t feel anything.
If your Pilates teacher is not asking for your feedback or checking in with you, then talk to your Pilates teacher. You will get a much better experience when she/he knows your goals and knows how your body is responding to the workout. I would never want someone to walk away from my studio and not come back due to lack of communication.
Sometimes people are afraid to hurting our feelings if they didn’t “like” the session. Please don’t let that stop you from communicating. Our feelings aren’t hurt when you tell us that a workout or exercise was too hard or easy. Or that you don’t understand what we are asking you to do. It actually makes our job easier when you communicate.