I am a beginner. How do I start?
That's great that you're interested in getting started! We highly recommend beginners to take a few private sessions with one of our instructors to develop a personalized course of training for you. After that, you can continue with private instruction and/or move into an ongoing group with instructor approval. You can also try our drop-in mat classes or one of the introductory workshops. We offer a Welcome Package at a nice discount for our new students.
What do I wear?
Wear comfortable clothing that you can move in and that is not too tight or too bulky. We practice on bare feet or with socks in Mat class and on the Pilates equipment. On the CoreAlign, we practice with socks or clean sneakers. For your convenience, we sell workout pants, shorts and t-shirts and non-slip ToeSocks in our studio store.
I am recovering from an injury. Can you work with me?
Yes! We are skilled in developing programs and exercise modifications for clients dealing with injuries and physical limitations. Our instructors have experience and share a deep body of knowledge to help progress you out of pain and back into functional movement. We appreciate all useful information and recommend your doctor's approval prior to beginning with us.
Can Pilates help relieve lower back pain?
Pilates is excellent for addressing lower back issues. Because it engages the deep core muscles of the body including the abdomen, psoas, lower back and buttocks, you'll strengthen the muscles that surround and support the spine. This helps reduce back pain, improve posture and ease neck and shoulder tension.
I'm pregnant - What do you suggest?
Congratulations! As you probably know, it's important that you talk with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. We have a lot of experience with pre and post-natal clients who have reported enjoyable pregnancies, easier birthing processes, and faster recoveries thanks to their focused Pilates and movement regime. With pregnancy, we recommend that you work one-on-one with an instructor who can help develop an appropriate program for you and give you the personal attention you need. Through private training, our instructors can also work with you to develop a home program and give you helpful modifications for exercises you can do while attending class, as well as for day to day activities.
I'm overweight and nervous about joining a class - what should I do?
For physical issues and individual needs, we recommend taking one-on-one private sessions. We are dedicated to providing a nurturing and supportive environment for everyone who trains at Center of Balance. Our instructors will work with you to develop a safe and effective program to best suit your goals and move you in a positive direction.
Is Pilates effective for weight loss?
Pilates and Yoga will help better align your body and stretch and tone your muscles, helping you to lose inches, but not necessarily weight. You will be most successful if you include diet considerations and aerobic exercise, such as swimming, biking, hiking as part of your overall health program.
Do you work with seniors?
Yes! We work with many older adults who have made profound changes in their bodies. Our exercise programs help address physical conditions which can worsen with age: poor muscle tone, decreased bone density, aches and pains, decreased energy, hunched posture, stiff joints and tight muscles. Regular exercise and joint mobilization helps us all feel better, at any age!
When will I notice results?
You'll immediately feel how these movements engage your body in new ways. How this translates into changes in your body depends on your focus, time commitment, and how your body responds to the exercises. Initially, you may notice changes in your posture. You may feel more flexible and lifted. Over time, you may develop more muscle tone and a slimmer appearance. For best results, we recommend practicing at least 3 times per week, whether in private sessions, class or at home.
What kind of results can I expect?
- Improved posture, balance, coordination and overall body awareness
- Longer, leaner muscles
- Increased core strength
- Greater flexibility
- Improved athletic performance
- Injury prevention
- Clarity and calmness
- Stress reduction
- Increased stamina
- Boosted self esteem
Is it OK to work with different instructors?
Yes! All of the instructors who teach at Center of Balance are excellent! We have many clients who work with multiple teachers at the studio. For example, they may take privates from one, groups with another, and sprinkle in mat classes with another. Our instructors come from diverse backgrounds and offer unique insights and styles, so there is a lot of benefit to working with different talent. We also generously share our knowledge and skills with one another, as well as keep progress notes on individual clients — this supports a continuity of practice for you! If ever you feel you'd like to try another instructor, or if you feel someone is not a right fit for you, we will readily find another option to support you. Just let us know!
I want to join an equipment group. How do I do this?
We recommend students interested in joining a group to schedule an Initial Session with one of our instructors for assessment and guidance. We organize our group sessions with students who are at compatible levels and understanding of the repertoire. So, we'd want you to take a few private sessions first to get up to speed with the group. Our Welcome Package offers a discount on private sessions and mat classes. To schedule an Initial Session, please call the studio at (650) 967-6414.
What's better, Pilates mat or equipment?
Pilates mat and Pilates equipment are both beneficial as exercise practices. A nice benefit of practicing Pilates on the mat is that you can do it anywhere! You can perform beginning to advanced exercises on the mat as well as on the equipment. The spring-loaded apparatus (Reformer, Cadillac, Chair) offer hundreds of options for exercises, many of which are adapted from the mat repertoire. Each piece of equipment can be used to get you to engage muscles in a different way, or to experience an exercise from a new perspective.
What is the difference between Pilates & Yoga?
Pilates and yoga poses are complementary, and very effective forms of mind/body movement. Both practices help to lengthen and strengthen muscles, improve flexibility and coordination, inspire more balance and equanimity. The physical practice of both Pilates and yoga involves focused movements guided by breath. Pilates can offer students specific training for each part of the body. It helps to strengthen and align the body for increased fitness and overall balance.
How often should I practice Pilates and / or Yoga?
To experience the optimal benefits of Pilates and yoga, it's important to practice regularly. We recommend a minimum of 3 times per week, more if you can make the time. Whether in a private session, class or at home, practicing on a consistent basis will accelerate your learning and greatly enhance your overall health.
Is Pilates good for cross training?
Yes, it's great for cross training. Regardless of what your other training forms are, it's going to help you develop better alignment, identify the weak areas, balance your body, and teach you how to use your body better.
I'm an athlete. How can this work help me to perform better?
Pilates is a comprehensive system - two of its main intentions are to develop mastery of movement, and to create balanced muscular development. Regardless of your sport, you can tailor the exercises as they relate to the movements of your sport. Pilates helps you move with economy of effort, strengthening and lengthening the muscles that tend to get short and weak from repetitive use in sports. This helps an athlete recover faster, become less injury-prone, and develop into a better mover.
Do I need to bring my own mat to class?
We have public mats and props available for your use during class at Center of Balance. However, we highly recommend owning your own mat for regularity of practice and reasons of personal hygiene. The Center of Balance Store carries a selection of yoga mats, mat bags, props, clothing, and more.
Do you offer teacher trainings?
Under the direction of Tom McCook, Center of Balance has been offering teacher certification since 2001, and is currently a certifying studio for Balanced Body in both Pilates and CoreAlign. We offer certification for Pilates mat, as well as full apparatus. Courses are taught by Tom in weekend modules and we schedule these trainings a year in advance to help students plan.
Do you sell Pilates equipment?
Yes. For the past several years, Center of Balance has been an official dealer for Balanced Body, the leading manufacturer of Pilates equipment. Through our close relationship with Balanced Body, we can order equipment at a discounted price and pass on the savings to those who purchase through us. All warranties of Balanced Body apply as we are a dealer for them.
What is your cancellation policy?
Please give us a minimum of 24 hours notice to cancel any scheduled session (private, semi or group) or there will be a full service charge. The 24 hour cancellation policy is an industry standard for service professionals like us. The reason for the policy is that we have reserved a spot specifically for you, the client, with the expectation to work and be paid for that hour. If a session is cancelled close to the scheduled time, it becomes very difficult to fill it with another client and we lose our income if there is no agreement in place to be paid for that session. We make every effort to fill the vacant spot by calling clients and reviewing waitlists, but it is not always easy in short time.
We understand that getting sick and other unforeseeable issues do occur, and we support you to take care of yourself and stay home if needed. However, we also want to be in agreement that we will be paid if we can't fill your spot.