Motivation! now, there’s a concept! Part of my role is to persuade my Pilates people to do their home practice.

It’s a delightful thing to be in a Pilates class. The soothing voice of the teacher, the comfortable ambience of the studio, maybe some whale music in the background… I’ll just close my eyes and drift a no no! Wake up! Now, I’m not heartless, and I understand that folk need some time out, but that isn’t really my aim as a Pilates teacher. Pilates is a great way to chill, but it’s more to do with the concentration required for each movement performed well, rather than a good lie down for an hour.

The perfect Pilates student would come to class three times a week, take a private class every so often and mix mat class with apparatus class. But (I hear you mutter) Pilates is a bit expensive, I’d need a rich wife to be able to do that. Pilates can be a bit pricey it’s true. That’s because good quality training doesn't come cheap, and a conscientious teacher takes on continuing professional development at least every other year. On top of that, proper Pilates is only taught in small groups but rent, overheads, insurance etc all need to be covered.

Pilates gives amazing results, but only if you do it. To benefit from the remarkable changes that Pilates can bring to the body, an hour a week won’t cut the mustard. Like all movement training, it’s all down to neurological programming. To learn piano, to change a tennis serve or a golf swing, to learn to pirouette, you need to spend more than the odd hour. The same goes if you want to make postural changes, fix your bad back or look amazing in your leggings.

Many of my people can only come once a week, so how can I help them to achieve their objectives outside of the Pilates studio? Homework! We all know about the excuse “the dog ate the homework", well yes, I do hear similar things! Usually along the lines of, too tired, forgot, drank wine instead, or the best one: “homework? hahahaha”. My job as a Pilates teacher is to be an educator. Within our 55-minute class I need to keep bringing peoples attention to the movements and hopefully the mind will remember something of what we are doing. To paraphrase, Joe Pilates said his work was not a set of physical jerks to be repeated ad nauseum. Each movement demands concentration and precision. A teacher should teach you this in your class so that you are enabled to go home and master the work in between classes. Not many of us have several spare hours in a week so to begin with, just five minutes a couple of times a week will help to make real changes. Pretty soon a routine forms, and before long, if you don’t do your practice you miss it, like a good friend.