How to up your group Pilates game
With so many fitness options available, people can exercise anywhere, at any time, but they keep coming to our group classes. Why is that? Well, because it’s not just about exercise. In our group classes, we’re fostering a community of belonging while promoting physical and mental well-being. Here are some ways I make teaching group classes fun and stress-free.
Keep your energy high
One of the best ways to start class off on the right foot is to arrive early. Feeling rushed at the start of class can throw you off balance and have you feeling tense. I also try to come to class with a positive and enthusiastic attitude. Positive energy can have a contagious and uplifting effect on others, resulting in a chain reaction of smiles.
Focus on inclusion
My next priority is ensuring that everyone feels welcome and included. If I see a new face in class, I’ll introduce myself and ask about their experience with Pilates. I make a concerted effort to learn names and use them (hearing our name is the sweetest sound to our own ears). I take the time to have little chats with my class members; we’ll talk about books or vacations, and these conversations allow other members to get to know each other better. When people feel like they are spending time with friends, it becomes more than an hour of exercise; it’s cherished time in a supportive community. I love when my class is so engaged in lively conversations that I have to gently ask them to quiet down so we can get started.
Use music to boost the mood
Choosing music that resonates with the class is another thoughtful way to enhance their experience. Sometimes I’ll ask the group what they want to listen to that day, whether they’re in the mood for upbeat tunes or something softer. Occasionally, when the playlist is right, people will sing along. I encourage Pilates karaoke. Who am I to squelch that bonus endorphin boost?
Feel the flow
Another way to make class more fun is to get into a flow state while teaching: Flow state is a rewarding, energizing state of focus and enjoyment where the task is neither too easy nor too difficult. Time flies in a flow state and it’s very beneficial for our psychological wellbeing. A great class will have the teacher and the participants all in their own flow states. This doesn’t mean we’re not interacting though. Be engaging. Be interactive. Ask questions and check-in and see how people are feeling.
Provide positive feedback
Other ways to increase engagement include walking around the room, making eye contact, smiling and offering individual attention to as many people possible. And remind your class that they are doing great. In a world where praise is in short supply, receiving positive feedback is a dopamine hit that adds motivation.
At the end of class, ask for feedback. I want to know what my class liked and didn’t like, what they want more, or less of, or if there are specific exercises they want to work towards mastering. I appreciate their input. It’s their class, after all.
And finally, I thank my group for showing up, for taking time out of their busy schedules to do something with so many physical and psychological benefits. Our clients have plenty of choices regarding their fitness routines, and the fact that they choose to spend their time and money with us is an honour that should not be taken lightly.
Remember, Pilates and movement should be fun, for teachers and clients alike
Have fun creating your own unique class community, get into your flow state and enjoy the many rewarding benefits of getting to teach group classes.
Key tips from Melanie
- Arrive early
- Be enthusiastic
- Welcome newcomers
- Learn names
- Engage with your group