classical method

What is classical Pilates?

Classical Pilates follows the original method created by Joseph Pilates. To clearly understand what this means, we need to first understand the differences between contemporary schools of Pilates, and what is known as Classical Pilates. 

As Classical teachers, we always try to follow the intentions of Joseph Pilates. This means that when we teach, we attempt to make the session a full mind and body workout. The movements are always organized around abdominal strength, and emphasize uniform development of such strength.
The student is meant to work to their fullest capacity, challenging their endurance, strength, flexibility, and stability. Classical Pilates sessions are a workout, in comparison to other exercises which stop and start throughout a given training session. They have a dynamic rhythm that flows from one exercise to another, joined by transitions. These transitional exercises allow the student to continuously move without breaking up the workout.  

Classical work always follows the principles of flow, centering, precision, control, concentration, and breath.
A teacher of the classical work always follows the order of teaching that was created by its founder. Joseph Pilates created a specific order or sequence of exercises for the mat and for the reformer. As classical teachers, we follow this sequence and organize the work into beginner, intermediate, advanced and super advanced (or Levels 1 to 5 depending on the classical school). This approach allows for the appropriate student levelling, as well as progressive learning which is important in Pilates. On other apparatuses and classes which do not have set sequences, Classical teachers use the theories of progression and rhythm in order to create a full mind and body workout that is appropriate for our students. 

The Classical work solely teaches the exercises created by Joseph Pilates. These exercises have been documented through his own writings, as well through photographs and films. They have also been verified by the Elders, a group of individuals who carried on Joseph's work. A Classical teacher will clearly state when the work is from another teacher or method. Additionally, if a variation of the exercise is used to prepare the student, it is always clearly defined and explained. Once the student’s fitness level has increased with these preparatory exercises, the full Pilates exercise can be taught without risk of injury. 

As Pilates grew in popularity, the original work diverged into varying channels, resulting in the inconsistencies we see today between the methods. Unfortunately, many Pilates teachers are unaware that they are not teaching the original work. Many do not know the set orders for mat and reformer, or whether they exist. As a classical teacher, we attempt to keep sight of Joseph's original creation and accurately teach this method to our students. 

Joseph Pilates' original creation has proven to work consistently. Good contemporary work, as taught by many of the Elders, was meant for rehabilitation, and was never considered a part of Joseph’s original work. These variations were meant to put you on a path to health and prepare you for the original work.

We as Pilates teachers believe that all movements are good movements when taught with the intention of being a mind and body workout that utilizes the abdominal muscles. There are great teachers of both classical and contemporary Pilates that are devoted to their students and to healing.

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