Which ‘Pilates’ is right for you?
There are many different kinds of Pilates teacher training programs, which can leave students and potential future Pilates teachers puzzled over which one is best for them.
Much of the confusion dates back to the death of Joseph Pilates in 1967. Mr. Pilates never trademarked his method, so each of his personally trained disciples went out into the world to teach Pilates, some sticking close to Mr. Pilates’ original vision, others adding their own personal flourishes–all of them calling their practice “Pilates.”
After an attempt by one individual to try and “own” the name Pilates, it ultimately ended in a 2000 decision by a federal judge in New York that declared “Pilates” to be a generic term (like yoga or karate) that couldn’t be trademarked or owned by a particular person or program.
While this court decision ultimately reflected Joseph Pilates’ desire to spread his system far and wide, it also means that the standard for calling oneself a Pilates instructor is flexible, to say the least.
So potential Pilates students, as well as potential Pilates instructors considering pursuing their teacher training, would be well-advised to do their homework and experience as many programs and teachers as possible. Styles vary from teacher to teacher, and program to program, ranging from very classical to contemporary, all the way through to no actual Pilates basis whatsoever.
There are many great Pilates professionals and several really good Pilates certification programs, many of which trace their lineage back to one of Joseph Pilates’ personal students. The key is finding a program that emphasizes rigorous teacher training, proper form, progressions, knowledge of all apparatuses, including the mat, critical thinking, anatomy, and, above all, student safety!
Pilates, like all exercise, can do wonderful things for the body and mind. And, under the guidance of a well-trained, observant instructor, it is very safe and extraordinarily effective. But, like all exercise, if done improperly, it can cause injury.
The instructors at my previous two studios and now my third studio, Pilates Methodology, are all classically trained, and most are trained by New York-based Alycea Ungaro’s Real Pilates. These are among the most important:
• Real Pilates is committed to upholding the standard of classical Pilates, as opposed to other programs that take a more contemporary approach to the original method. The Pilates method is almost a century old, and we are convinced that the original system continues to be extraordinarily effective, exceptionally safe and endlessly adaptive to our clients’ ever-changing needs. While Real Pilates is dedicated to preserving Joseph Pilates legacy, they are also equally dedicated to teaching teachers proper mechanics and physiology. Classical training meets contemporary learning!
• Alycea Ungaro was trained by Romana Kryzanowska, one of Joseph Pilates’ students. Ms. Kryzanowska worked with Mr. Pilates and his wife, Clara, and continued to run his studio after his death in 1967. In addition to Alycea Ungaro’s Pilates expertise, she is a licensed physical therapist having graduated from New York University’s prestigious program. She is also a certified Peri-natal specialist making her uniquely qualified to work with all levels of disability and with clients during any phase of their pregnancy. Alycea has used her vast years of experience and education to create this in-depth, one of a kind training program.
• In our opinion and experience, Real Pilates’ teacher training is second to none. In addition to offering a solid, classical curriculum, the Real Pilates Teacher Training program does an excellent job of teaching instructors how to teach and think critically, understanding and implementing the ‘why’s’ of Pilates. Real Pilates instructors are taught how to properly observe the biomechanics taking place in the body, offer corrections, and deliver a safe and effective workout that meets the client’s individual needs. This is crucial to ensuring our clients’ safety, delivering results, and creating lifelong Pilates lovers.
• The Real Pilates Teacher Training program is rigorous and meticulous. Before you can get into the RPTT program you must first apply and have an interview and evaluation. Candidates must have a working knowledge of the method, and/or a prep training package will be assigned to get them ready for the ‘Harvard’ of the Pilates training world. The program consists of 4 weekend seminars, a progressive monthly schedule, an e-learning platform, an in-house mentorship, weekly meetings, a 600 hour apprenticeship to create this one-of-a-kind program designed to develop your ability to be a teacher, coach and guide for Pilates students.
• Unlike many other certification programs, Real Pilates is not an equipment manufacturer. We are therefore able to purchase the best and most appropriate—and only the best and most appropriate—equipment for our studio and our clients. We do not teach to a specific apparatus or manufacturer. The equipment we use is as close to Joe’s original designs that can be found in todays market.
Every Pilates Methodology instructor has either a full Real Pilates certification or is in the midst of their apprenticeship. They are held to high standards every year for the completion of additional continuing education within the classical Pilates realm and anatomy. In addition, Methodology’s founder, Rachael Lieck Bryce, is part of an international network of studios who train and educate Pilates instructors for Real Pilates. Pilates Methodology is the only Real Pilates training center in the Southwest!
We are happy to be part of the Real Pilates family and believe we offer our clients the ultimate Pilates experience—one that continues to change lives and bodies every single day.