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Post-natal Pilates - my experience

School Of Pilates Posted Jun 18, 2015 Future Fit Training

Heather Oakes - Pilates teacher with 15 years’ experience, Future Fit tutor and new mummy to a gorgeous boy!

Post-natal Pilates - my experience

Trust me - unless you're Superwoman, exercise won't be the first thing on your mind when you've just given birth! However, having somewhere to go where it is acceptable to take a tiny baby (who is potentially crying, smelling, feeding or sleeping) is more important than you will realise. There are a variety of classes you can attend as a new parent – some for the baby, some for you and most for the social - and I have experienced all of these in different post natal Pilates classes. 

The first post natal class I went to was lovely.  There was a large mat for me and beside it was a smaller mat for my baby. The instructor made it very clear that if my baby cried it was no problem. If I needed to feed him, wind him, shhhh him and so on, then that was fine too. She did her best to talk about technique and posture while only really having about 40% of everyone's attention because as a new mum, you can't help but look at this gorgeous bundle you created. She was good at distracting the babies with coloured scarves and rattles while we did versions of the One Hundred. Then we sat baby (supported) on our laps (still laying supine) to do a weighted version of Shoulder Bridge.  Looking around, most participants hadn't appreciated the instructor asking us to peel our spines away from the floor and most were just lifting in one, but no harm done and all babies and parents made it through the exercise. 

In total, the instructor attempted about 9 exercises with us, some of which included the baby. Participants were dipping in and out according to the needs of their babies. All in all, it was a lovely atmosphere to try and get back into Pilates while meeting other mums and getting out of the house. 

After this class I looked for another post natal Pilates class and was told this instructor specialises in it. This made me interested to see what she would do differently. When I arrived, it was clear that the Pilates was going to be for me and would not involve the baby. Mats were positioned in a circle with car seats and a small matted area in the centre for babies. I wasn’t too comfortable with this, although I understood her thinking - the mums would be able to concentrate on their technique – but I couldn't actually concentrate because every time a baby made a sound, I was trying to work out if it was my baby that made the sound, whether he needed anything or was about to cry. He wasn't close enough for me to see, but the instructor still only had about 40% of my attention. If they’re asleep, young babies can't last an hour class without wanting attention. Sometimes a hug will do, but as no-one else was holding their baby while doing Spine Twist and it wasn't given as an option, it seemed I could comfort my child, then do the exercise properly rather than combine the two. 

I came away from this class thinking it was neither a good Pilates experience nor a good social experience for mums. 

So what does a post natal Pilates class need? It needs an instructor who understands that actually, most participants aren't interested in Pilates per se.  They’re more interested in getting out of the house and meeting other mums in an environment where it's okay if your baby vomits, burps or cries. The Pilates is a bonus.

If you run it as a block, and most baby classes I have attended do run in blocks, then you can begin to focus more on the Pilates as the weeks progress, keeping the interest of those who genuinely want to do Pilates whilst educating the others. Check your insurance permits you to add babies to exercise.  As a participant I would favour being close to my baby and being encouraged to include them in the exercises. As an instructor this requires a more relaxed approach but will do no harm.

You don’t need to be a parent to teach post natal Pilates. Just be prepared for chaos!

Written by Heather Oakes

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Start your journey today and call us now for more information
0800 458 1388 or 01329 829444 - See more at: http://www.futurefit.co.uk/pilates/becoming-a-pilates-teacher/#sthash.sCRCaFSo.dpuf


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