As Close Contact with Joe Pilates As Possible
The reputation that Pilates has is built on the original teachings of Joe Pilates, not one of the modern fusions which has been created in the last few years. Joe Pilates died in 1967, his wife Clara died a decade later. That means that there are still (a few) people alive who trained with him.
In terms of the transmission of the art, Romana Kryzanowska is by a very long way the most important of these figures as it was she who took over the running of the original studio in New York and she who committed to training teachers to continue his work. It is almost true to say that Pilates which has not been strongly influenced by Romana is not actually pilates at all.
Knowledgeable, Experienced Teachers Who Enjoy Teaching
A brand name is not enough. There are teachers, even in the most conscientious organizations, who are not very good. Sometimes this is because they qualified some time back and have stopped training, sometimes because they only learnt part of the system (e.g. only mat) without much depth, sometimes because they don’t like teaching people.
The difference a good teacher, with access to the full pilates tradition, who knows how to communicate can make to the quality of your training is huge.
Small Classes with Individual Attention
However, a good teacher from a good organisation still cannot work properly if they are teaching a huge class of 20 or 30 people which changes all the time. A level of stability and continuity is essential if you are to benefit from a group class.
If you do not have a teacher who is watching your progress, giving you individual corrections and pushing you to progress beyond where you would by your own efforts you may just as well buy a DVD and practice at home.
Classes Aimed at Your Needs
Even a small, stable group class with a well trained, dedicated teacher may not be appropriate for you have particular physical needs. Pilates is exercise. Very few pilates teachers are also properly trained physical therapists, though years of experience of working with bodies does give you a good sense of what is and isn’t possible.
People who are delicate due to injury or accident- that is people who need therapy – should go to a therapist. If your doctor or physio says that you can exercise then you may need to start with private sessions so that you can learn how to use the Pilates system to help you properly.