In my last post I talked about why class size mattered in Pilates mat classes, you can read the full article here, and I wanted to expand on that a bit.
There are many benefits to attending a smaller class and I wanted to highlight what I think are the top 5, so here they are in no particular order;
With fewer people in a class, the teacher can pay closer attention to the students and can give personalized feedback and guidance.
Not every cue is going to work for everybody. In a smaller class the teacher can adapt their cues to suit the individuals, offer hands on guidance and correction, and coach an individual through a movement.
Modifications and variations can be more easily offered to individuals dependent on their needs. If you come into class one day with a dodgy shoulder, then the teacher can adapt exercises for you or offer you different exercises that would be more comfortable but still beneficial.
Space to Move
I tend not to encourage my students to smack each other, and it really helps having smaller numbers that can spread out. This means no coordinating with your neighbour during leg circles so you don’t hit each other, any of that awkwardness when you accidentally touch the person next to you, or feeling like you can’t fully move your body because it might encroach on someone else’s space.
Having space between the mats also allows the teacher to move around the class. They will be able to observe the class better and get closer to students to offer guidance.
Privacy and Environment
Doing a new thing or coming into a new environment can be scary for many people. Small groups are more welcoming. It is likely to be the same people each week which fosters a friendly and comfortable environment.
Small classes mean you can’t hide. You won’t be left to struggle wondering if you are doing it right, and you won’t be ignored. The teacher can watch everyone and if you are unsure of something you can call them or wave them over for help.
Speaking in a class can be difficult whether it’s answering a question at the beginning of class or asking a question. A class that you are comfortable with, with people you are comfortable with, makes it a little bit easier. Smaller classes can create a nice, friendly atmosphere where you feel safe asking questions.
They can also provide a safe and comfortable environment to people who have anxiety around groups of people, that may have religious restrictions, or want the assurance of being in a judgement-free setting.
In a small class you will have an opportunity to ask to focus on something, mention any pain or restrictions, and tell the teacher when a movement or position is not comfortable. Small classes can be tailored to the participants.
It allows the teacher to ‘teach what they see’ (and what they are told). They can more easily adapt a planned class to suit the class’s needs or offer variations and modifications to individual students.
If you are seeking out Pilates to achieve a particular goal, rehabilitating an injury, or have been advised to do Pilates then small classes will allow you to get what you want out of Pilates and be in a group setting.
Classes should be accessible to everyone, but you can only guarantee that with a small class.
Better Relationship with Your Teacher
When a teacher focuses on you in a class they are spending time listening to you, guiding you, and doing what they can to help you achieve your goal.
This creates a better relationship between you and the teacher. The teacher will get to know you and what your body needs, what your restrictions are, which means they can deliver a much better class for you and hopefully a more enjoyable class.
Coming to a mat class is much easier if you enjoy it. Having that relationship with the teacher can only improve your Pilates experience.