My dear friend Sunni Almond wrote a great “letter” to all Pilates clients or future Pilates clients. I asked Sunni if I could share this. “Yes of course!”, she responded. So here it is and please share as much as you like!
Sunni started on Facebook with this introduction:
I am taking the liberty of sharing this here, in case some teachers aren’t FB friends of mine. It has gotten a pretty good response from respected colleagues, and I invite you to share if you want. It may help us keep fighting the good fight and maybe help to answer the questions without being defensive about what we do, who we are, and what exactly we teach. This is NOT the classical vs Contemporary fight. This is the weekend cert and big box club and other modalities vs the lineage led educated fight. If what you teach stems from Joe, this may be of interest, if not scroll on.
Dear client, It’s NOT Pilates if:
It’s anything from Acrobatics to sitting and meditating and finding your Zen.
To be clear, I’m not bagging on any sport, any Barre, any Bosu, or Suspension Training or Yoga, Wall or Rock climbing, Skydiving, Wind-tunnel play, Acro yoga, or any yoga. Any super reformer, or mega former. Balls, bands, foam rollers, or any reformer where you put the box over the springs instead of just long or short box, or Zumba.
Those things all have their place, but if you walk into a studio that has Pilates on the sign, and what they teach didn’t come in some major way from Joe and Clara Pilates (and you should ask, if you’re not sure) then it isn’t Pilates. Anyone can say they teach Pilates, there’s no law against it, but if you actually want REAL Pilates, please ask for credentials, find out where your teacher studied, or who their teachers are. Get what you’re paying for.
ALL the other stuff is great, it just isn’t Pilates…. so if Pilates hurt your back or neck, it may not be Pilates, it may be an off shoot. If you are doing more than 10 reps, it isn’t Pilates, if the challenge is to add more spring, it isn’t Pilates. In real Pilates, the less spring you can manage well, with stability and control, precision and fluidity, moving from one exercise to the next with transitions that lead you into the promised land of a new move is probably Pilates. If you are getting to move your spine in every direction, using strength and flexibility, great!…if stability isn’t taught first, it isn’t Pilates.
There is SO much stuff out there, and fun IS the name of the game, don’t quit playing your game, Pilates will make you better at your sport, it’s cross training. You’ll jump higher, run faster, become symmetrical and balanced, have more ease, better posture, less pain. You can do it until you can no longer move. It is the core training that lets you train your core for more fun stuff.
Live your life, get off the couch, out of the chair…even mini baby Pilates moves are amazing. A Pilates teacher will meet your body and guide it gently if that’s what you need. If you’re an animal, Pilates will make you a tougher animal. We don’t work through pain, we don’t heal you, it’s not PT, we aren’t doctors unless we have that education. Pilates is exercise. You can do it daily if you want, there isn’t that lactic acid build up, you will be able to sit and squat, and walk up or down the stairs.
Pilates costs real money, because most Pilates teachers pay real money on a continuing basis to keep increasing their knowledge base, refine their craft and skill, not to mention the apparatus costs a fortune. For the most part we aren’t socking it away, we are repaying the credit cards we bought the apparatus with. We are saving for our next workshop or lessons with our teachers.
We want to be good at what we do, it’s our passion, we have pride in our work. We have websites to keep up, scheduling software to pay for to make it easy for you to schedule, and all the things business owners have and do to run a business, it’s not our hobby, it’s our livelihood.
Our goal is to help you be your best. We are in the service industry, we are givers.
If you’re in a class with no hands on corrections, and lots of people, it’s probably not Pilates. We will touch you, and move you and hold you and support you and cheer you on, and make sure you’re safe. We want you to be great at your life, playing with your kids and dogs and grandchildren…Now get on the mat, cause that’s Pilates and it is the litmus test for how well you’re progressing, the apparatus will make sure your body learns well..and there’s some fun tricks there too. Joe Pilates was a cigar smoking boxer and circus performer, this wasn’t started as something for delicate flowers, but they do just fine too.