I second taking a beginner's class. It's not that it's hard; it will just work muscles you didn't know existed . And no matter what, simply go as far as is comfortable for you. Even it's a beginner's class, you might find that others are more flexible or what have you. The last thing you want to do is compare yourself (your progress) to them (and their progress).
I think you are going to like it a lot... it is similar to yoga where you work on breathing and stretching, but it is a bit of a higher impact - the instructor should take you guys through beginner/intermediate/advanced versions of the exercises. You'll be great!
I think it depends on the class. I've gone to classes (that aren't called beginner classes) that have been insanely easy. But I've also gone to ones that were so hard I couldn't do everything, even though I consider myself to be pretty in shape. You'll never know until you try! I'm sure it will be fun :)
I think it's important for a beginner to go to a real class. I have a pilates dvd at home that I had done a few times, but it was NOTHING like the class, where they correct your bad form right on the spot. It was WAY more of a workout when you do it properly!!! I couldn't bend over later that day!! But it was fun.
Or you'll have fun developing a strong core, and I don't mean that facetiously, either. When you reach a point where you can do certain poses, you'll be quite proud of yourself. I remember when I first started doing Pilates and yoga years ago. I couldn't do Plank without going through that whole body shake thing that happens when your muscles are actually engaged. After a few months, not only was I able to do plank (without the shakes), but I could lower myself down and hover a few inches over the mat before resting (belly down) on the mat.
I'm thinking of trying Pilates too. I tried a DVD years ago, but I'm looking forward to the instructors' help. I hope it'll be a good workout that'll help me tone up - I have no idea what it's about or what I'm in for, either.
I do reformer and it is so much easier for me. Mat pilates--- in my mind, will kill me. I've done yoga for years although i've been out for about 2 months now and i'm scared i can't do a lot of stuff. LADC, plank is a real test. my mentor said it's is very good for you. it took me awhile to get my strenght just right for vinyasa. ooopppsss--- it's yoga now. got to go.