Technically and legally, the court has established that Pilates is a generic term to describe exercise. That is a ringing endorsement for the idea of Pilates as an established system of exercise, however the practical implications are that there are now a great number of instructors teaching “Pilates” who have little or no understanding of the complex and nuanced system of exercise invented by Joseph (Joe) H. Pilates in the 1930's.
You are likely to come across a wide variety of programs and exercise regimes called Pilates, though many have only a cursory connection to Joe Pilates' teachings. While there may well be systems out there claiming to offer Pilates that provide a beneficial experience, it's important to understand that they are not all actually teaching a consistent system.
To undergo Pilates training and become an instructor, a person can choose from many certification programs. Pilates when taught and practiced improperly — as with most forms of exercise and sport — can injure your body instead of improving your health. Be wary of any instructor who claims to have learned the system and received their certificate with mere weeks or months of learning. What it all really comes down to is relationships – who learned from whom, and the certification program's commitment to upholding Joe Pilates' legacy. It takes a lot of time and diligent study to truly learn the intricacies of his method.
At East Bay Pilates, unsurprisingly, we are adherants to Joe Pilates' original system of exercise. The studio owner, Faye Stevenson, oversees the studio teaching practices to ensure all clients are recieving training true to Joe’s original vision. She has gone through rigorous programs and dedicated many years to learning how to pass on his legacy, which has meant learning in the tradition that Romana Krysanowska has maintained. Romana worked closely with Joe Pilates and his wife Clara for many years and gave them her commitment of carrying on their work for the duration of her life. Specifically, Faye has worked with many long time students of Romana Kryzanowska and received her certification from Romana herself.
Taught as Joe intended, Pilates is a very well designed system and those devoted to it would say it's the best system of exercise available. Like all products of good design, the beauty of Pilates training comes from its simultaneous simplicity and intricacy. You get amazing results from a moderate degree of effort with a relatively low risk of strain.
Pilates training can play a huge role in improving your health and happiness—just as Joe Pilates intended. The possibilities are amazing!