Starting a new activity is always a little confusing. With Pilates, there are so many options it’s hard to choose the best method (and avoid the ones that aren’t so good). We’ve put together some simple pointers to help you identify authentic classical Pilates.
As close to Joseph Pilates’ original method as possible
Unlike one of the modern fusions created in recent years, true classical Pilates is built on the original teachings of Joseph Pilates. Joe died in 1967, and his great work has been continued to this day by a number of people who trained under him.
In transmission of the art, Romana Kryzanowska was the most important of these individuals. She took over running the original studio in New York and committed to training teachers to continue Joe’s work. It is almost true to say that Pilates which hasn’t been influenced by Romana, isn’t really Pilates at all.
Experienced teachers who enjoy teaching
A rigorous method is not enough, an experienced instructor is also essential. Don’t underestimate the difference a good teacher, trained in the full Pilates tradition, can make to your training. Unfortunately not all teachers are equal: some qualified a long time ago and have stopped training, some only learnt part of the system (e.g. just mat), and some aren’t able to communicate the method into practical action.
Small classes with individual attention
A good teacher from a renowned tradition still cannot be wholly effective if they are teaching a huge class with different people each week.
If you don’t have a teacher who knows your body, gives you individual corrections and pushes you to progress, you may just as well buy a DVD and practice at home. When it comes to group classes, a level of stability and continuity is essential for you to benefit.
Pilates classes tailored to your needs
Even a small, stable group class with a well trained, dedicated teacher may not be appropriate if you have particular physical needs. People who are delicate due to injury or accident should check with their doctor or physiotherapist before they exercise. Once you have their approval, it is often sensible to start with private sessions so the Pilates instructor can carefully tailor the system for your body.
So there you have it, some key pointers for picking an authentic Pilates class that will really benefit your body.