How to find the right Pilates studio

I’m often asked to recommend a Pilates studio or teacher for friends looking to diversify their workouts or accommodate an injury.

Pilates has very unfortunately been diluted and undefined. Joseph & Clara Pilates did not think to leave their work and legacy with anyone legally. Romana Kryzanowska was his protege’ and continued to teach students and train instructors to carry on the work.

IMG_1995There was an attempt to trademark Pilates as the exercises Joe and Clara taught to Romana (now referred to as classical Pilates), however, the courts ruled against a trademark. The decision made it possible for anyone to call anything Pilates leading to the brand confusion that exists today.

I was trained as a fourth generation [from Joseph Pilates} classical instructor. It took me almost three years to complete my apprenticeship. My method defines variations on the original work as contemporary Pilates. I believe both methods are valuable as long as you work with a qualified instructor.

So, what should you look for in a studio or teacher?

  • Certified instructors that completed a 600+ hour training program. That means your instructor had to go through seminars, tests, observation, student teaching and likely some basic anatomy education. You should be able to find this on the studio’s website.
  • Small class size. It’s pretty hard to make sure everyone is safe and effective in a group larger than 8 people. Personally, I don’t usually teach more than four students at once. Mat classes may accommodate more, but keep it small when you’re working with springs. I’ve been to an amazing amount of classes and been forced to close my eyes to avoid seeing a future injury. Often injuries happen over time so please be careful out there – it’s a jungle.
  • Sweaty or tired clientele leaving after a session. Pilates may look easy, but it’s super hard work and aims to access your deepest muscles. While you dictate your own effort, a teacher should guide and push you safely and with control. Be honest about your fitness goals with your instructors. All teachers want to help you achieve your goals.

There are so many incredibly talented instructors. Working with a great teacher will change your entire perception and enhance a foundation of movement that will serve you well in your everyday life.

Good luck pilates goers

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