Currently Pilates divides into two camps, Contemporary Pilates and Classical Pilates.
As a generalisation Contemporary Pilates doesn’t follow a specific order of
exercises and can have many variations and modification of exercise, Classical
Pilates has the intention of following what is generally considered to be an
order close to Joseph Pilates original teaching, and only uses
modifications / variations where necessary for the person performing the
Originally I trained as a contemporary teacher and believed that it was the
only way Pilates should be taught as it was all I knew. By lucky chance in my
constant quest for knowledge I attended a workshop on Classical Pilates Mat and
fell in love. I retrained completely and became passionate about teaching only
this style of Pilates.
I am a constant student and as I continued to study I began to realize that
within the classical world were a handful of teachers who had all been taught
by Joseph Pilates, and had gone on to develop the work and train other teachers.
The exercises were the same but there were slight differences and the more I learned the more I realized they were each given versions of the exercises
that were relevant to their particular bodies.
By studying with many different
teachers I began to realize there wasn’t one correct true version of an exercise
but an intelligent teacher would use the version that worked on correcting that
particular clients weakness or imbalance. Some of the original teachers had
developed a whole host of Pre-Pilates exercises, different language and ways to
do exercises that introduced a freedom to the movement.
So I went from a very
ridged system of exercise to exploring more freedom within the order of the exercises
and begun to see my clients develop their own intelligence about the way their
bodies moved and what worked best for them. Permitting myself to have more
freedom to teach what made sense to me, meant I no longer sat in the heart of
the classical world but neither did I sit in the contemporary world. I finally learned to have enough confidence not to care as the only thing that matters to
me is seeing my clients bodies change, seeing that moment when they work out
what I’m trying to teach their body to do, and finding joy in what I do every
So in conversation with another teacher from the contemporary world I coined
the term Pilates Mongrel as I sit in the no man’s land between both camps.
Being a Dog lover and owner I do know that Mongrels often live longer,
healthier lives than pedigrees so this mongrel is going to stay traveling her