Pilates Training: Make an Educated Choice

Vancouver Pilates Studio in the Neighbourhood of South Granville

Studio Pacific Spirit

Welcome to the Pacific Spirit Pilates Studio

We often try new things as a result of a friend telling us how much they like it or benefit from it. Many years ago, I was working out at a high-end women’s club when a friend suggested I would love Pilates. She was, of course, right! I really enjoyed the mat classes and eventually tried Reformer and Cadillac equipment training. I became much stronger in the process even though I had been lifting weights and doing a cardio program not to mention various ball and cross-training classes. I began to read about the Pilates method and several questions came up in the process. When a flyer for a new studio and free consultation was delivered to my home, I jumped at the opportunity and never looked back.

The fundamentals of Pilates were explained to me by the studio owner while she assessed me doing a variety of exercises. It was then that I realized there was so much more to the Pilates Method than I had been taught.  When I asked my teacher at the Club about it, she said she wished she was teaching Classical Pilates but the owner of the club wanted her to teach a “gym style” of Pilates. This puzzled me because of the fundamentals I was actually missing in the “gym style” of training. It did not come without benefits but it paled in comparison to the Classical Method which continues to evolve, incorporating the latest research into biomechanics and the human body as a whole. The repertoire of over 500 exercises can be modified to suit individual needs.


Many Streams of Pilates: How to Make an Educated Choice

Pacific Spirit Pilates Studio

As the popularity of Pilates grew, many different “Pilates-style” classes have appeared. Unfortunately, many are mediocre versions of Joseph Pilates method. Because of a lack of industry regulation, you must do your own research when choosing where to train.

There are Classical studios which adhere strictly to the original method and there are studios which follow the Classical method but also incorporate the latest research into their teacher training programs. This is the training I received and believe to be the most beneficial.

To add to the mix, there are a variety of gym-style approaches and combination of method classes such a Yogalates and Poolates etc.

When shopping for Pilates training, look for a studio where you can ask to see a teacher’s certifications and ask about where they trained, the philosophy they follow and the size of their classes. Smaller classes mean more personalized attention. You can also check the website where the teacher trained and see what is required to become certified as one of their teachers, who does the training and what their background is.

There are people suggesting they are qualified teachers who have only on-line training and have not been supervised. Written exams can only test a teacher’s ability to a certain degree. There are people teaching Pilates who are not certified or have minimal training. Ask yourself: who do you want to trust and pay to train you? Don’t rely on community centres and gyms to do this for you. You might be surprised by what you find. The stream of Pilates may not be appropriate for your physical condition.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions:  Are they able to handle injuries, rehabilitation and special needs? What qualifies them to do that?  Do they require completion of a posture and gait analysis and private sessions before you begin?

Creditable studios do not accept new clients without first having you complete a questionnaire which informs them of whether you will require a Dr’s referral and medical form completed, advising what is recommended for your physical condition. The importance of this cannot be emphasized enough. While Pilates is for all bodies, the method must be modified to be safe for those with Osteopenia and Osteoporosis and other assorted physical issues. If you have muscle imbalances, a “one size fits all class” will not help you and may exacerbate the issue(s). Private sessions which address you personally are the right choice.

Have you asked your physician about bone density testing? Tune in for a future blog on this topic.

Regular Pilates practice with the right teacher can greatly improve your quality of life regardless of your age or what goals and physical issues you have.