What Is Pilates

Pilates is a fitness program that has been passed down from teacher to student for over 100 years. It is designed to strengthen and lengthen your body emphasizing the abdominals, buttocks, and inner thighs commonly called your “Core” or “Powerhouse.” Originally called Contrology, it promotes control, centering, concentration, precision, balance, and fluidity.

Who Is Pilates

Joseph H. Pilates was born in 1880 in pre-war Germany, and was a sickly child. As he grew, he studied the human body through textbooks, yoga, Greek and Roman principle and developed a series of exercises, which came to be known as the Mat work. He called his work “Contrology” and said it was the complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit. He became a gymnast, boxer, diver, skier, and wrestler and developed his physique to the picture of strength and health, eventually posing for anatomy charts.

He moved to England and during World War I was placed in an internment camp. He began teaching his work to others in the camp, and even when the Influenza epidemic hit, none of his practitioners passed away. He even worked with patients in hospital beds, incorporating the use of springs, which became the basis for his apparatuses in his system of conditioning. He found strengthening the body actually helped to heal them faster.

After the War, he moved to New York City, met his wife Clara on the boat, and together they opened his first gym in 1926. They continued to train students for the next 40 years. He died in 1967. There was a fire in his gym. Some state the floor dropped from under him, and he hung from a beam for an hour until firemen arrived.

The Classical Method

Joseph Pilates trained many people, but a handful took the training he gave them and began teaching it to others. This is where varying styles of Pilates comes from. However, he took one student and taught her the principles of the work as a whole. He taught her to teach for all people, not just the individual, and then also how to tailor the work for the individual. Her name was Romana Krysanowska.

After both Joseph Pilates and Clara Pilates passed away, Romana became the protector of the work and stayed true to the original principles. Prior to the 1990’s, Pilates was truly based on an apprenticeship style of learning. As advanced students progressed and were interested in learning to teach, they absorbed the information and the mentoring of the teachers around them. As time passed, there became issues with trademarks, copyrights, and lawsuits. As a result, now there is no overriding governing body to regulate the usage of the term “Pilates.” Some programs will “certify” a teacher with the attendance at only one workshop of a few hours.

Romana designed her certification program to require over 600 hours of training, observation and practice, plus additional intensive workshops and continuing education. Classical certification programs today still follow this model for training. As Pilates is a whole system, certification only comes at the end of the entire program, and not incrementally. You should always be able to ask your instructor how they were trained, with what program, and for how many hours. And with most classical programs, they should be able to tell you the lineage of how their instruction directly relates back to Joseph Pilates within a handful of instructors.

The Equipment

Fort Worth Classical Pilates, LLC is proud to use equipment by Gratz Industries (www.pilates-gratz.com). Gratz is the finest in Pilates equipment and is the original company Joseph Pilates commissioned to manufacture his equipment over 50 years ago. It still uses the same design, dimensions, and spring resistance of his original inventions and supports the body in the way the apparatuses were intended.

Fort Worth Classical Pilates, LLC
The Boland Shopping Center
3418 W 7th St, Suite 111
Fort Worth, TX 76107
817.533.1716 - Studio

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