Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Are you a Pilates Snob?
I admit it I am a Pilates Snob.
I was trained in Classical Pilates and believe this to be Pilates. Although the other styles intrigue me and I like some of the preps and modifications, to me Classical Pilates equals Pilates.
There is a reason Classical Pilates follows a series of movements. The Pilates Method is based on principals like Control, Precision, and Concentration. Classical Pilates is like the trunk of a tree. Firmly rooted into the ground, growing from its foundation upward and branching outward to expand.
When I enter a Pilates class there are certain things that I expect. Personally, I expect to see certain exercises in a certain series or flow, however I am open to some modifications and other excercises that may help build into those Classical exercises. I expect to see and hear certain themes and principles of the Pilates Method conveyed throughout the session.
So what exactly is the difference between Classical and Modern Pilates? In talking with colleagues this week I asked their opinion on the matter and was pleased to find that most of them fell into the same category of beliefs as myself. I believe Classical Pilates to be the teachings that were handed down from Joseph Pilates (and his wife Clara) to a group of his students, know as Pilates Elders in our community. These include such teachers as Romana Kryzanowska, Lolita San Miguel, Eve Gentry, Mary Bowen, Ron Fletcher, Kathy Grant, and Carola Trier. These Elders then taught their students who became teachers, who taught their students who became teachers, and so on. And somewhere along the journey teachers have taken the teachings of Joe and added their interpretations, scientific backgrounds in exercise and kinesiology, and other disciplines (i.e. yoga, kickboxing, Franklin Method, etc) to the core Pilates exercises branding their style into the Modern Pilates category. STOTT Pilates defines their style of Modern as incorporating “current knowledge of exercise science & spinal rehab into the principles of Pilates”.
I view the training like a box of crayons, you have to start with the primary colors first. Understand what each of those colors involves, means, and represents, before starting to add in more diverse colors. That is not to say that blue is any better of a color than turquoise for example, however it is understanding that turquoise has a base of blue at its root and becomes turquoise by adding to it some other primary colors like yellow and green. Not better but diluted, changed, and different in its own right. Many of these Modern schools add much value to the Pilates world and commnity and do have their roots in the Method. After teaching for over ten years I believe that I have a strong enough root into the method to begin to be open to these new, modern styles. I think it is very important that as we begin to expand and incorporate these new ideas that the Pilates Method does not begin to play out like a bad game of Telephone, where the outcome is so far away from the original message.