I get asked often the difference between a group mat class and a studio/small group class. It is a question I have wondered over the years of my pilates practice. I just recently discovered my own answer and one to share, that does justice to the very valid question I too have pondered, what in fact is the deal?
Some background to my story first, I for many years 8 or 9 in fact loved my pilates and only attended group classes in a gym or followed along with one of the many online classes or DVDs I had at home. I have not only built strength in my core, gained a much leaner and toned body, but I have also grown to love and respect the practice of pilates. One of the most compelling reasons I enrolled in my teacher training was so that I could learn why this form of exercise had helped me so much, particularly in rehabilitating from serious low back pain and migraines myself.
Therefore I will never lose my love for a general all round pilates class that offers variety of movements for all parts of the body. The group mat class is excellent at achieving this, and in fact is what I have based the whole structure of Sonia Louise Pilates on, my motto being that to get someone to fall in love with pilates, they need to first try it on for size, and see in fact if it is for them, then slowly as they see the benefits they will learn more and more and pilates will become something they can’t not do, because it makes them feel better. This is how I feel anyway.
The group mat class does this so well, we run through the pilates exercises in a systematic process, working the whole body which gives you a great all over workout from head to toe, inner core to the balance of standing on your toes. For a great workout, an introduction to pilates and a reasonably priced fitness regime that will compliment all your other physical pursuits, group mat class is for you. I love them and I will never stop teaching them because I believe it offers everyone the chance to add this type of training to their life and gain the many benefits I so often hear from my clients.
The small group/studio class is only a new love of mine. I myself other than my teacher training had never experienced this form of pilates. 6 weeks ago I started attending a studio classes of my own with an amazing teacher who has been teaching for many years. I stumbled across him because I really wanted to increase my learning and knowledge, but could not see how I could fit that in around my full time day job and running the studio. This was our solution, a studio class once a week at 6.30am Wed morning.
At that point in time I had not considered the option of small group classes but it became a very real possibility quite quickly for me. The small group/studio class is limited to 4 people only and to be honest if you are lucky sometimes you will be 1 of 1, 2 or 3 but even with 4 in the class, you will receive the attention of the instructor specific for your body weaknesses, tightness and strength requirements. If there is one thing I have learnt in my first 3 years of teaching every single body is different and needs something just a little different.
So if you think about it maximum of 4 people in your class means you get 1 on 1 attention for at least a quarter of the class. This is not possible in larger group environments. What I myself have found is that, even though I can say I am advanced at the mat exercises, some of the exercises that I am doing when there is a keen eye upon me, can be done even so much more precise and believe me every week, my instructor finds somewhere else I could finely tune my movement pattern and hence I wake up the next day introduced to a new muscle that is now doing its job so much more efficiently.
The other exciting thing about the small group class is you get to have a spin on the reformer, we play a lot more with the equipment and we can modify things so that we can work on those spots that only you need to work on, it is not for everyone but it is definitely worth a try.
Like I said above, I will never stop teaching group classes because I love the atmosphere, the challenge and the excitement in the room when everyone gets to cheer that first time you roll up, or roll like a ball smoothly.
But I must say studio classes are amazing for those of us personalities who like to refine things a little or a lot, or that like the learn (which is me definitely) and for anyone wanting to invest a little more in their practice of pilates.
For sessions times please go back to the home page and click book online.
Pilates Group Mat Classes – $15 casual or $120 for 10 sessions
Small group/Studio Classes $35
Cheers and I hope this answers some questions, as I always say in class if you have further questions please ask, call or send an email I would love to chat 🙂