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Reformer Class: Dos & Don'ts

If you've never taken a Pilates class before (mat or apparatus), DO take whatever Intro class or Fundamentals course that's offered. Sometimes there are Introductory Packages (2 privates + 1 class, for example) or prerequisites to take before entering into a group class--do yourself a favor and take them. DON'T assume that just because you're athletic or in perfect shape that you're ready to jump into a higher level class. I may be able to swim a decent backstroke, but butterfly takes an incredible amount of technique and practice before I can even grasp the basics. Even if you're well versed in mat Pilates, while the principles are the same in an apparatus class, it is a totally different animal, so DO find the level that is most appropriate and DON'T jump into a more advanced class due to a more convenient time slot.

When you come into the studio, DO ask if the Reformer you're about to set up is taken, and DO introduce yourself to your neighbors before class starts. The community in Reformer class is usually very nice and excited for newcomers to experience Pilates for the first time. If you're new to this instructor DO get there early to talk to them--especially if you have any injuries or sensitivities. Please DO respond if the instructor asks a question of you or of the class in general. DO feel free to crack a quick little joke when the teacher is not talking (once you feel comfortable with your classmates, of course). DON'T chitchat, however, for the sake of chitchatting. And for heaven's sake, never talk while the instructor is instructing!

DO pay attention when the instructor suggests which springs they want you to use, the position of the footbar and the headrest, as well as any props you should have. DON'T be afraid to ask for clarification, especially if you are new. DON'T copy your neighbors spring configuration--they might be working on something else in their practice.

DO wear clothing in which you feel comfortable moving. DON'T wearing soccer shorts or any type of loose shorts that can shift and reveal...more than you want. DO come to class with clean feet. If you are exercising beforehand, you may want to a) use a cleansing wipe on your tootsies, b) change into clean athletic socks, or c) DO wear grip socks. Speaking of cleanliness, DO come to class clean. DON'T come wearing perfume or cologne or body spray.

DO try to incorporate general corrections or reminders that your instructor gives, ie. "relax your shoulders", "lengthen through your body", and "breathe". DO consider less general corrections or rhetorical questions if applicable, ie "are the 3 points of your pelvis on the same plane?". But if your teacher is correcting your classmate, who has their head tilted up to the ceiling, by telling them to "bring your chin down, Jane" and your head is already in balance, DON'T assume that reminders given specifically to others are things you should also embody.

DO have a light snack however long before class that works best for you. And PLEASE DON'T chew gum during class--this is a very real choking hazard.

DO stay hydrated. DON'T leave an uncapped bottle where you, your classmates, or your instructor might kick it over. If your studio allows you to bring in other liquids like tea or coffee, make sure it's in a spill-proof container and not an open mug.

When your class is over, DO follow whatever protocol your studio has set up. DO put away props, DO clean off your equipment, DO leave the apparatus set up in the manner in which the studio requires. And lastly, if you enjoyed your class, DO feel free to tell the instructor and I can guarantee that it will make their day!

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