One of my instructors shared a very good article about how the ‘actual’ Pilates method is starting to become distorted nowadays; many people are learning the basics of the exercise and then adding their own forms of exercises and then calling it “Pilates”!
Don’t get me wrong; I’m completely in favor of ambitious fitness individuals introducing new variations and forms of movements as evolution of exercises will keep people motivated to try new things and new forms of exercises in order to stay healthy. I myself developed a curriculum and Fitness method that I used to call “Yogafly” and after 1 year, decided to change the name to ‘Bodyfly” as it is not fully related to Yoga.
So, I am not in favor of tagging the name ‘Pilates’ to certain exercises when they are not. Joseph Pilates, the creator of the Pilates Method (formerly known as Contrology) had a precise routine that added therapeutic value and enriched people with a healthy as well as a fit body.
During my discussions with the instructors at our Studio, we often talk about Pilates and nourish each other’s knowledge on the trends that are happening in today’s world vs true Pilates. When I say ‘trends’, I mean that Pilates is becoming a fitness regimen rather than true Contrology.
Joseph Pilates had already introduced all the different variations of exercises to condition our body; making it lean, long, flexible and strong.
As a teacher, to be truly ‘updated’ in Pilates would mean to continue studying, self-practicing but also to keep teaching many different bodies! This is a huge educational resource as during the time I was teaching many different people with different pathologies, I had to self-study and do extensive research to help my students reach their goals which would ultimately help them re-condition their bodies.
It takes 10 years to learn the ins and outs of Pilates.
Whilst YouTube can be useful in visually presenting exercises, aspiring instructors will only be able to truly understand Pilates when they study and practice on themselves and apply to different bodies. Moreover, it’s also about building a community of knowledge and sharing information as well as educating the world about Pilates rather than learning from a channel.
True benefits of practicing the pure classical Pilates form is all about the routine. Our body has a memory and when we practice the same series over 30 times, we have a complete new body! But if you practice the “Fitness Pilates”, it is not going to create this result over 30 times. It will take much more than that!
When you reach the “advance level” of The True Pilates method, then it is time to explore diversity and fun variations.
If you look at the repertoire of certain Pilates organizations, they have changed the way some of the true Pilates exercises are performed and even sometimes; the names are changed as well! “Scissor in air” is a perfect example. Some Pilates organizations have modified the way to do it from the breathing to the actual practice. So if Joe would be alive today, I’m sure he probably would not be very happy!
Pilates nowadays is becoming an industry and everything is starting to become commercial and highly business orientated. As an entrepreneur, I agree that marketing is important to let people know about the great benefits of Pilates. However, I am very sad to see that the Pilates method is often distorted and abused in order to make more business.
High quality education is meant to educate people about the classical Pilates method and its principles, as well as the contemporary and the classical approaches and how they relate to each other. A good Pilates education program should focus on how a teacher can bring real benefits to his/her students and should support the participants in understanding the biomechanics of the human body and why we do the exercises the way we do it; it should not only be a dreadful exercise of learning or memorizing things by heart.
The educational program of the “Swiss Pilates Institute” respects the above points and focuses on providing a complete and holistic overview of the Pilates method. The Swiss Pilates Institute understands that there is not only the “Method of Pilates” but also a “Method of Teaching Pilates”.
The Swiss Pilates Education Program stimulates its participants to develop excellent teaching skills, work with precision and to show them how to care for their future clients.