I am lucky enough to be surrounded by warm, inspiring and hard working Pilates instructors. When I leave my bubble of amazing people I notice the judgment that some teachers put on one another. This usually comes from being incorrectly informed and preconceptions.
Joseph Pilates was the creator of Pilates or Contrology as he called it. The few people he fully trained are called the “elders” or the “first generation” of Pilates instructors. Those people who trained from them are considered the “second generation.”
With this elite line comes some ideas that the closer you are to the origin; the better the teacher you are. I was trained thru Body Arts and Sciences International (BASI). The creator of this certification program is Rael Isacowitz (Check out his mat workouts). He was trained by Alan Herdman, and several of the first-generation Pilates teachers: Kathy Grant, Ron Fletcher, Romana Kryzanowska, Eve Gentry, and Lolita San Miguel. I was trained by Karen Clippinger, Rael’s right hand woman. She worked as a clinical kinesiologist for 22 years. She also had worked with hundreds of dancers/ performers including members of the Joffrey, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Mark Morris, Bill Evans, Alwin Nikolais, and Cirque Du Soleil companies. Thru her teachings I was also certified in Pilates for Dancers. So does that make me 4th generation? Kinda, but not sure. I’m not sure who trained Karen. Does this make me a better or worse instructor. I was trained in “contemporary” Pilates and am planning on doing my Master’s certification in “classical” Pilates. Does that make me a Pilates fake? I’m enjoying my classical Pilates privates so much. I love learning the exercises in the order and way that Joe taught them. Maybe it’s my dance background but I find it very beneficial doing the same order and exercise. I never feel the need to do something different or do I get bored.
I teach mostly rehab Pilates. Most of my clients can’t do many of the classical exercises because of disc and other injuries. I’ve had to create modifications and find other ways to get them to recruit muscles that need to be worked. Now that some of my clients are stronger and healing, I am able to throw in some classical exercises and slowly get them accustomed to the work.
I’ve maintained great clients, helped with back, knee and hip pains, increased flexibility and they seem to enjoy seeing me. I believe that is what makes a good teacher. People have to keep coming back.
Lesley Logan, who I’ve had the privilege of observing bits and pieces of her teaching, found and posted a great article about this very topic. (This girl is a beast! She was mentioned in Vogue, Pilates Style Magazine, voted in LA Magazine’s Best of 2013 and you can see her on Pilates Anytime). http://pilates.about.com/od/A-Pilates-Story/fl/Industry-Insider-Will-the-Real-Pilates-Please-Stand-Up.htm The gist? Do the Pilates that works for you, makes your body feel the best and keeps you injury free of course! I think Joe would be so proud of how far Pilates has come today!