Joseph Pilates developed a framework for healing himself. He had been a, ‘sickly child’ and sought
to recover and become the opposite of, ‘sickly’ in order to demonstrate to himself and the world the power of
connection between one’s body and one’s mind.Tremendously successful, his body became the subject of numerous
anatomical textbooks by the time he was in his early 20’s.
Joseph became an athlete, making a name for himself as a boxer, a teacher and a healer of troops during WW ll. The
first Pilates Reformer and Cadillac pieces of equipment were fashioned by Joseph out of bed springs and sheets in VA hospitals.
Much has been learned about our bodies and our minds and movement since the 1920’s.
When Joseph Pilates went to heaven, his family petitioned the Supreme Court to copy write the Pilates name. The Supreme Court
denied that petition, an act which then became a, ‘double-edged sword’.
On the one hand, we continued to learn about our bodies and our minds and this powerful connection. Thus, we were not limited
to the, ‘New York Method’ and the notion that, ‘no one could ever improve of the ways of the ‘master’ (Joseph Pilates).
On the other hand, we have been allowed the privilege of evolving his method, which has become a true blessing.
The caveat to that is that now, anyone can hang out a shingle, call themselves a ‘Pilates teacher’ and charge people money
for really anything at all that they might make up and call, ‘Pilates’ and the public usually has little information to
help them know the difference.
As a result, while most major fitness facilities employ only top quality instructors, some do not.
There are fitness and recreation centers filled with, ‘certified’ but untrained and uneducated ‘Pilates’ teachers who
can be boring and incorrect at best and downright dangerous at worst. They work for low wages so the fees for their
classes are low-another red flag.
I simply wish to emphasize the importance of asking your instructor about his or her education and training.
In my opinion, it is less about the standardized tests one has ‘passed’ than it is about their actual education and training.
Excellent education and training in a reputable method of Pilates exercise is not usually coming from a university setting
such as a degree in exercise physiology. It comes from years of training in an established program such a
Stott Pilates Certification Center, including Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Stability Chair and barrels as well as
other small equipment and current continuing education requirements for maintaining certification.
This may include but not necessarily, the Pilates Method Alliance.
What Pilates is NOT:
One way to be sure…Ask your instructor where they trained and for how long and what was included in their training.
Do not assume that just because someone is employed by a fitness facility or a community center that they have been
screened and are being supervised properly.
Another way to assess your teacher’s validity is to pay attention to, ‘drop in-type’ classes. Pilates exercises require a
progression from basic essentials to intermediate to advanced exercises.
If you attend a, ‘drop-in’ class and one of the exercises is something called, The Teaser, in which you are trying to balance
up on your tail bone with your legs at 45 degrees in front of you and your arms in the air, get up and leave immediately
unless you have have a solid background of experience in Pilates practice. This exercise could result in serious and possibly
serious injury to your spine.
Many people believe that if they have ‘strong abs’ from doing other things or they are athletes of other skills or they have
a, ‘6-pack’ that they can just jump in to a more advanced Pilates training program safely. This is not the case.
Find an instructor who will progress you in your work rather than a, ‘one class fits all’ kind of situation. You can keep your
lumbar disks safer that way and the rest of you as well.
Pilates as and art form:
Pilates is about proper form established by learning to move energy around in your body using your breath, your
body and your mind.
Your practice becomes a meditation in which you learn to control the direction your health and progresses over time.
Joseph Pilates first referred to his method as, ‘Controlology’ or the study of self control.
Pilates exercises are specific, containing a definite beginning to an exercise, the middle or essence of the exercise
and a definitive ending.
With time and practice, one can learn to move from the beginning to the end of an entire workout seamlessly, as one,
long exercise similar to a, ‘Vinyasa Flow’ in Yoga.
It is important to work with an instructor who can watch you and correct your alignment,
otherwise you will end up practicing your mistakes.
Your teacher will need to ‘spot’ you and modify some exercises for you to help keep you safe and challenged at your individual level.
It is for this reason that I do not recommend putting a Pilates DVD in your player and trying to watch it and do it.
Watch it and then practice it with your teacher.
Specialized Pilates programming is available at A Healing Place Pilates including but not limited to:
For more information and educational materials please visit http://www.StottPilates.com.
Pilates is for Every Body. It is a method of lengthening and strengthening your muscles at the same time.
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What is Pilates?