Styles of Pilates
When Joseph Pilates first created his novel system of exercise and rehabilitation, he called it Contrology. Over the years, his teaching came to be known as the Pilates Method, or more simply as Pilates. During his decades of training and instruction, Joseph Pilates educated many different people in his exercise method, leading to a variety of interpretations of the Pilates Method today.
Why Are There Different Styles of Pilates
After the death of Joseph Pilates in 1967 at the age of 87, there was no predetermined champion of the Pilates legacy. Fortunately, several teachers remained who had been personally taught Joseph Pilates’ method before his death.
During the evolutionary process by which Joseph Pilates developed his exercise methods, many of his students were taught a variety of techniques. This lead to the development of various “styles” of Pilates, even from individuals that trained directly with Pilates himself. Today, several of these individuals are still teaching the Pilates method and offering classes and training sessions to keep Pilates building in popularity.
Key Pilates Instructors
Due to the large number of Pilates instructors, it is not possible to provided detailed information on each student and philosophical derivative of Joseph Pilates’ method. However, several key individuals will be mentioned who provide leadership and training in the Pilates Method today.
Romana Kryzanowska and True Pilates
Romana Kryzanowska was a ballet dancer who originally met Joseph Pilates while seeking an alternative to surgery for an ankle injury. She quickly embraced the Pilates philosophy studying under both Joseph and Clara Pilates, and she eventually became a teacher. After Joseph Pilates death, Romana was allowed by Clara to continue running their New York studio. She eventually setup her own New York studio where she continues to teach True Pilates today, strictly maintaining the methods of her teachers.
Ron Fletcher and Fletcher work
Ron Fletcher was a direct disciple of Joseph Pilates, training in NYC after a dancing injury. After Joseph Pilates death with the approval of Clara Pilates, Ron opened a studio in Beverly Hills, California. Ron went on to define his own style of Pilates, which included specific breathing, standing, and towel exercises, called Fletcher work. This style is often referred to as West Coast Pilates. Ron Fletcher continues to teach and offer certification programs in his Pilates style today.
Moira Merrithew and Stott Pilates
Moira Merithew (Stott was her maiden name) was a ballet dancer who studied the Pilates method under Romana Kryzanowska. She later adapted her teaching style to incorporate modern medical knowledge, particularly in maintaining a neutral pelvis and spine. Today, Stott Pilates continues to provide Pilates training, instruction, and quality Pilates equipment for studio and home use.
Mari Winsor and Winsor Pilates
Mari Winsor was a former dancer, and was trained in Pilates by Romana Kryzanowska. She is considered the most recognized brand in Pilates today, primarily due to the large number of Winsor Pilates videos, DVDs,and books she has produced. Many of her training videos are targeted at individual looking to improve their physique through weight loss, and have become quite popular. Mari Winsor continues to teach her Pilates method in her L.A. studios.
Other Styles of Pilates
Recently, a variety of new Pilates styles have emerged. Many of these are disciplines that combine other arts with the core strengthening movements of Pilates. Yoga-Pilates combinations are becoming increasing popular, such as Yogalates developed by Louise Solomon. The trend has continued and it is now possible to even find Nude Pilates and Pilates for Pooches for the uninhibited and canine loving population, respectively. There are also several fitness trainers who offer Pilates training through videos and DVDs, including Denise Austin and Christy Brinkley.
Choosing a Pilates Style
With so many choices, the most important aspect of Pilates instruction to consider is the quality and certification of the instructor. In 1980s there was an attempt by Sean Gallagher of Pilates Inc. to trademark the term Pilates, restricting its use to only his students. However, a class action lawsuit lead to the ruling that Pilates was now considered an exercise technique and could not be under restricted use. While the intention of the trademark was to create a level of quality in Pilates instruction, it also barred many well-trained individuals from other instructors from using the term. The downside of this lawsuit is that now virtually anyone can claim that they teach Pilates without any authorization by a governing committee or required hours of training. Several key Pilates training centers are working towards a future national certification in Pilates.
So when you are seeking a class in Pilates or pursuing Pilates Instructor training for your own career goals, it is important to check the qualifications of your teachers and studio to ensure you receive proper instruction in Pilates.
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