Pilates is..


What Pilates means to us

It seems as if every corner has a Pilates studio. Yet, not all Pilates’ studios or classes are created equal. After a four year legal battle ending in the year 2000, the term Pilates was ruled to be a generic term for an exercise method. The decision to revoke the Pilates trademark was a huge victory. Until this time even Teachers trained under Joe himself could not use the term Pilates, but were forced to explain their teachings as “Pilates based” or “inspired by the methods of Joseph Pilates.” Thanks to the ruling from this lawsuit, qualified studios and instructors are now able to use the Pilates name without legal or monetary repercussion.

The downside resulting from this decision is that now Pilates is a generic term, any novel form of exercise that combines a few Pilates’ moves or that simply incorporates some of the Pilates principles can be called Pilates. Recently, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of programs claiming to offer certification in the Pilates Method, and several of these may be completed in a weekend. What many don't typically realize is that the Pilates Method taught the way Joseph intended is a sophisticated science and in order to teach this Method properly it takes time to study and practice. Joseph said, “The only unchanging rules you must conscientiously obey is that you must always faithfully and without deviation follow the instructions accompanying the exercise and always keep your mind wholly concentrated on the purpose of the exercises as you perform them.”

Another issue that arose from the 2000 Pilates Trademark decision is that anyone can brand the Pilates name on exercise equipment, even if the equipment does not resemble or function similarly to the original designs. The equipment developed by Joseph and used in Pilates are complex pieces that if designed and used accurately will enable the core muscles of the body to wrap around the spine, creating length and ultimately protecting the vertebrae.

At WAP we teach the The Traditional Method. The Traditional Method practices the exercises developed by and performed the way Joseph Pilates intended. The exercises are not altered or invented by the teacher for the client. However, that is not to say that one client’s exercises are exactly the same as another, or that there are no modifications for the exercises. The genius of the Pilates Method is that exercises are prescribed according to the particular strengths and weaknesses of the client.

The strength of the work when applied individually is that it requires the client to become more involved in their learning process.  For many people classes deliver exercise, but not a lasting mental shift by which participants learn the deeper components of exercises, remember them, and leave with a lasting impression of how to better move their body in the real world.  Having to take responsibility for your own training requires fortitude- it's hard to turn up day in and out and work deeper into something, remember your corrections, and build your awareness of your body. 

 Individualized Authentic work (which is the delivery method most true to Joe's intended form) shows you how to enjoy the process and love the work. Figuring out and seeing what your body can do.

The Matwork consists of 34 Contrology exercises, which are the stepping-stones to a healthy body. Several modern studios and instructors teach these exercises differently, claiming that the original exercises are too difficult. There are even instructors that claim to teach Pilates that have never studied or even tried to perform the original exercises. In his book “Pilates’ Return to Life Through Contrology,” Joseph emphasizes the importance of accurately performing these exercises, “follow instructions exactly as indicated down to the very smallest detail." There is a reason! Contrologyis not a system of haphazard exercises designed to produce only bulging muscles. To the contrary, it was conceived and tested with the idea of properly and scientifically exercising every muscle in your body in order to improve the circulation of the blood so that the bloodstream will carry more and better blood to feed every fiber and tissue of your body.”

The Traditional Method uses specific machines and the Mat work to train clients. Results of the traditional method include a more uniformly developed body, increased strength and flexibility, improved body awareness and postures, and decreases in joint and back pain. Joseph believed in not just using one apparatus to train clients but, multiple during their workout. We follow that belief using all the apparatus as he intended.

When looking for a Pilates studio, instructor, or class, we hope even if you don't come to see us that you do your research and ask a few questions before going to a class or teacher. Here are a few questions you will want to ask.  What type of Pilates is taught at this studio? How long have your instructors been studying the Pilates Method? Where and with whom have your instructors trained?  How many hours, personally, have your instructors trained on each piece of equipment they teach? In addition to the Training Program are they PMA Certified?

Our Teachers here at WAP have gone through WAPilates Teacher Training Program or another Teacher Training Program with over 450 hours of hands on study which included observation hours, practice hours on each apparatus, assisted teaching hours. They continue to learn taking workshops, training with other teachers and studying anatomy, issues and more. All of our Teachers are also PMA Certified.  The PMA was founded in 2001 and is the professional association and certifying agency for Pilates teachers.  The PMA serves the Pilates community and the public by validating that a Pilates teacher meets every entry level standards for safety and competency. By establishing this professional credential, the PMA Certification Program put into place one of the primary components required for any established profession.