The Magic of Real Pilates

Are you missing out on the experience of real Pilates and the benefits it could have on your body? 

My Pilates journey commenced in 1999 after a minor knee surgery from my 12 year professional ballet career. I was advised by my surgeon to do Pilates after surgery, and although I was previously ballet dancer fit, I discovered that even fresh after surgery a fully qualified and knowledgeable Pilates instructor could give me a workout of a lifetime as well as take care of my injury and give me individual modifications! 

This is what I believe to be the true magic of authentic Pilates. When a teacher understands the repertoire and the system, they can apply it to anybody. However, this cannot happen in a group mat or group reformer class. Of course these are elements of the Pilates method but by only doing those you’re missing out on a lot of magic. Pilates in a fully equipped Pilates studio takes you on a journey for you’re own unique structures in an individual setting utilising all of the Pilates equipment. 

After 7 sessions (which I found actually quite strange at first, (I left always quivering) I was hooked and was dancing better after 3 months of Pilates than before my operation. That was it, unhappy in my ballet career.....I swapped it to become a Pilates teacher. 

The prerequisite for my original Pilates teacher training required seventy five logged private sessions with a Pilates instructor, as well as an audition showing the intermediate Classical Pilates’s repertoire before I even was accepted to join the course. The original study was then 600 hours including three practical and written exams. I chose to study the classical Pilates method with first generation teacher Romana Kryzanoswka. 

Call me old school but that was how my study journey was. This was in 1999/2000 before the big Pilates boom. At the time I was living in Vienna Austria and there were only about 2-3 studios there and no teacher training was even available in Europe at that time in Classical Pilates so I traveled twice to the USA to study Pilates. 

I haven’t looked back, I’ve been a full time teacher since then. I must say though when I finished my teacher training I almost gave up because teaching real people was so different to my own practice and study. I’ve been so lucky to have had mentors and colleagues who guided me as a new teacher. 

Since then I’ve added many other trainings to my repertoire because every time a client came in with a new injury or specific issue I felt the need to study about it. They were paying me so I’d better go find out how to help them better. I can say for sure that my clients are my best teachers. 

It took me 7 years full time teaching beside other colleagues before I felt ready to open my own studio. Call me old fashioned for sure but today’s Pilates world is vast. I’m not too impressed when I learn of teachers doing 1-3 day courses in mat or reformer to then open studios and teach everyone without any assessments. Or even teaching fusion classes like “Yoga/Pilates” just to jump on the bandwagon of earning $$$ on something they actually aren’t educated in. Its ok if you’re teaching fit healthy people, perhaps, but please don’t take on clients with specific needs in such settings.

I agree that Pilates has developed and I also embrace and teach “evolved“ Pilates and many other contemporary and therapeutic techniques.

But I feel so compelled to call out and say “ THERE’S MORE” because there are many students with injury or special needs or even fit healthy bodies who aren’t experiencing the Pilates method in its full form and magic. Whether you’re new to Pilates or have been practicing for some time, I can only encourage you to seek out a fully qualified Pilates instructor and a fully equipped Pilates studio and book yourself in to really get an idea of the magic of real Pilates.

Suzanne McCarty