What do I need to bring? If you enjoy your Pilates classes and would like to attend regularly and practise at home I strongly recommend buying your own good, quality Pilates mat. I can advise on mats or if a few of you want them I can purchase for you so as to save on postage and packaging. It is important to get a good, thick mat to support the back. I have some mats available in class for those who don't yet have your own and so you can try the class before buying your mat.

Will a yoga mat do? No, yoga mats are very thin and won't offer the cushioning needed for rolling exercises.

What do I wear? It's important for the instructor to be able to see participant's bodies and alignments so please don't wear oversized baggy clothes. However you don't have to come in leotards either - joggers / leggings and t-shirt fitted top will be fine. Please also wear socks. Make sure your clothes allow for movement.

I can't commit to weekly classes - can I drop in? If you have attended at least one block of Pilates you can attend a drop in class for £6 if there are spaces on that class.

How much do I need to do? To see and feel maximum effects you really need to practise more than once a week. Ideally participants would do a little bit at home regularly. Your classes will encourage home practise - even just one or 2 exercises in the evening - to really get the best results. If you can attend 2 classes a week you will really notice a change in your body more quickly. Pilates should be practised alongside other exercises - it's a great partner for more cardio vascular exercises, for getting out and about - walking, swimming - and is a great partner for dance forms and aerobic style classes such as Zumba. You will feel the benefits of Pilates in other sports, as it improves your perfomance and your ability to get the most from other exercise forms.

I don't feel challenged by my Pilates class? Like anything, you only get out of Pilates what you put in. It is down to the participant to follow the instructions and make their body work. It would be easy to lie on the floor and move your legs without engaging your core muscles but this won't lead to flatter abs - instead you could do yourself an injury. To get the benefit of Pilates, come along to class and be prepared to concentrate on getting the most out of your class, and your body. Also not all exercise systems are for everyone - it may be that Pilates just isn't your thing. Have a chat with me before or after class or email and we can discuss ways in which you can modify exercises to get more out of them.

What level should I do? If you are new to Pilates you should start with Pre-Pilates / Foundation Level, even if you're reasonably fit this will ensure you get the basics and fundamentals of each exercise. Depending on the individual you may be able to move up to Level 1 quite quickly. If you've already done some level 1 pilates or if you are confident with Foundation Level Pilates you can start at level 1. Depending on level of class, some classes may cover more than 1 level.

Is Pilates like Yoga? Pilates and Yoga are often thrown together - there are some similarities but they are not the same. I love Yoga and Pilates and there are many benefits to both exercise forms. Pilates uses different breathing to yoga and much less standing poses. There is also less emphasis on the mind, body & spirit connection. In Pilates the mind is involved as it controls the body, and our aim is to concentrate the mind completely on the movement, mastering the body. There is no spiritual component. Although many feel rejuvinated and refreshed after Pilates - it can clear the mind of other worries by demanding such intense focus on the body.

Will your body change? Yes - if you do regular Pilates over a period of time your posture and body are sure to change. I've personally noticed a huge difference in my body since starting Pilates - I've lost around 8 cm from my waist in around 8 months. You do need to practise more than once a week - and it should be combined with some other exercise and a healthy diet. I've also noticed a huge difference in the posture and shape of many students over the past 8 weeks alone.

I just don't get it - I don't think Pilates is working for me - I don't feel like I'm doing it right These are some of the comments I get from begginers. It's natural when trying something new to be unsure - but be patient with yourself. Don't expect to be able to understand and do all the exercises straight away. Pilates uses the same movements each week so although the first week might feel like you've got loads to think about and you might not be sure you're getting it all, be patient as your body will start remembering enabling you to work harder and get more out of the exercises. If you're not sure, stick at it as it takes time. It won't happen overnight...