1. Where did Pilates come from?
Pilates is a proven exercise technique which has been in use for some 70 years, yet it still remains virtually a well-kept secret. This situation appears to be rapidly changing as people's requirements are evolving and their approach to exercise is changing.
"It is the mind itself that builds the body."
- Joseph H. Pilates
This statement, which is a fundamental concept in Pilates, is totally in line with these modern demands. It is important to note that the benefits of Pilates can be experienced through many other forms of movement and sport – it is designed to enhance performance levels and help you get the most out of any activity that you may enjoy.
Pilates is a form of total body conditioning and training developed by the late Joseph Pilates (1880-1967) during the early part of this century, first in Europe and then in the USA. It is an exercise method that strengthens core postural muscles and develops proper body alignment; it reduces common muscle and ligament damage associated with other fitness regimes and often plays a key role in rehabilitation programmes.
Until recently Pilates was relatively unknown to the general public – but now it is mushrooming worldwide. Why this phenomenal growth in both interest and participation? Quite simply, it works.
The Pilates method of exercise was created by Joseph H. Pilates, who was born in 1880 near Düsseldorf, Germany. Joe was frail as a child, suffering from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. He overcame his physical limitations with exercise and body building, becoming a model for anatomical drawings at the age of 14. He became accomplished in many sports, including skiing, diving and gymnastics.
Joe went to England in 1912, where he worked as a self-defence instructor for detectives at Scotland Yard. At the outbreak of World War I, Joe was interned as an "enemy alien" with other German nationals. During his internment, Joe refined his ideas and trained other internees in his system of exercise. He rigged springs to hospital beds, enabling bedridden patients to exercise against resistance, an innovation that led to his later equipment designs. An influenza epidemic struck England in 1918, killing thousands of people, but not a single one of Joe's trainees died. This, he claimed, testified to the effectiveness of his system.
After his release, Joe returned to Germany. His exercise method gained favour in the dance community. In 1926, he immigrated to the United States. During the voyage he met Clara, whom he later married. Joe and Clara opened a fitness studio in New York, sharing an address with the New York City Ballet.
By the early 1960s, the Pilates' was training many New Yorkers including young ballerinas at the New York City Ballet. While Joe was still alive, only two of his students, Carola Trier and Bob Seed, are known to have opened their own studios.
Other second generation Pilates Trainers that learned from Joe and Clara included Romana Kryzanowska, Ron Fletcher, Martha Graham, Carola Trier, Eve Gentry, Bruce King, Mary Bowen, Robert Fitzgerald, Kathy Grant and Lolita San Miguel. In 1967, just before Joe's death, both Grant and San Miguel were awarded degrees by the State University of New York to teach "Pilates." These two are believed to be the only "Pilates" practitioners ever to be certified officially by Joe.
Joe continued to train clients at his studio until his death in 1967 at the age of 87. In the 1970s, Hollywood celebrities discovered Pilates via Ron Fletcher's studio in Beverly Hills (Ron referred to the method as Body Contrology). In the late 1980s, the media began to cover Pilates extensively. The public took note and the Pilates business boomed. Pilates believed that he was ahead of his time; he was probably right because today more than five million people worldwide practice Pilates. The numbers continue to grow.
2. What is Contrology then?
Joseph Pilates called his techniques "Contrology." He did not call it Pilates when he first started teaching.
3. Is the equipment the same today?
In a way, Pilates equipment today is not much different than that of yesteryear. Spring tension, straps to hold feet or hands, supports for back, neck and shoulder are as important now as it was then. Because of the remarkable nature of the equipment to both challenge and support the body as it learns to move more efficiently, the inimitably designed pieces truly act as a complement to the challenging "matwork" exercises.
4. Where can one get the equipment?
Please contact us directly on +27 21 424 6827 or email email@example.com for information on products
5. Did Joe Pilates invent Contrology on his own?
While Joe was the outspoken force behind his method, his wife Clara, a trained nurse, quietly incorporated his concepts and exercises in ways that benefited more seriously ill or injured clients. Her approachable style and special techniques spawned a dedicated lineage of teachers whose work flows through and uniquely colours the landscape of the Pilates method today. It is perhaps because of Clara that Pilates is clearly recognized as a positive form of movement-based exercise that can be tailored to any level of fitness and health.
6. How often should one do Pilates?
For best results, Pilates should be practiced 2-3 times weekly in approximately one-hour-long sessions. Pilates may be practiced in a group or private setting, based on the individual's needs financially and physically.
We suggest that new clients attend an assessment during which the instructor can identify postural strengths and weaknesses and also teach the basic principles of Pilates. Thereafter, private sessions will help new clients progress at an effective rate. After the basics are understood any client can improve by attending semi-private or group sessions.
7. How much can one expect to pay for Pilates?
Internationally prices for classes range from US$5-US$20 for group mat sessions, to upwards of US$50-US$100 for one hour of private instruction utilizing the full repertoire of Pilates equipment.
In South Africa, Pilates is extremely affordable. Mat classes range from R50-R120 per class and private sessions are generally between R150-R300.
Pilates could be performed at home, but proper instruction and quality equipment are essential to its success. Pilates cannot be learned from a book.
8. How can one find a properly trained Instructor?
Comprehensively, competently trained and knowledgeable instructors are the essential element in realizing one's potential, and enjoying the process of learning Pilates.
Please search the directory of trainers at www.pilatesinfo.co.za to find a Pilates Instructor in your area.
9. What does one need before doing a Pilates Course?
Firstly you will need a strong desire to become a Pilates Instructor and have a good understanding of what this takes.
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10. How does one become a Pilates Instructor?
Joseph Pilates worked at length with his own instructors, allowing them to assist and then finally teach after sometimes as long as 2 or 3 years of training and apprenticeship. He was quoted as saying, "Remember Rome was not built in a day." and "Patience and persistence are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavour."
While excellent training programs exist in the marketplace today, some are clearly inadequate. Comprehensive teacher training programmes offer structured class instruction, practical training and a continuing professional development programme. The most important thing for the apsiring Pilates professional is...
DO A NATIONALLY ACCREDITED COURSE. This is the ony way to be sure of a quality experience. If your teacher has not taken the time to accredit their own programme, it speaks volumes about the care they will take of you.
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11. What questions should one ask when you investigate a Pilates Teacher Training Programme?
Here is a list of questions to ask once you find a training program that you are considering:
1. Is the programme Nationally Accredited by the relevant training authority in South Africa (called CATHSSETA)?
12. How do I know if the Teacher Trainer is qualified?
If the programme is Accredited, the teacher is qualified.
13. Can one qualify to teach in a faster manner?
Long-time instructors who knew Joe maintain he and Clara would be very happy and proud of the popularity and growth of Pilates. However, it is less clear how he might feel about the influx of "quickie certifications" available for would-be instructors wanting to be trained in a weekend or two.
Workshops that last a day or two are not sufficient to train a student to be a competent Pilates instructor.
14. What else can help one become a good instructor?
The Pilates method is an exercise/movement technique which trains practitioners to integrate the use of mind and body during the performance of its exercises. Through this integration, Pilates creates positive overall physical benefits.
If you spend time reading and attending courses that develop your vitalistic and holistic view of health, you will most certainly find this valuable as a Pilates Instructor.
15. As a fully trained instructor, what should I be able to do?
A fully trained teacher must have practical knowledge of human anatomy, normal and exercise physiology as well as functional biomechanics. They should practically understand the entire Pilates exercise system, including its philosophy and purpose, the primary goal of each exercise, and an ability to modify the exercises without losing their main intent.
He/she must be able to accurately assess a client's posture and movement patterns, understand what the client is doing in a session, and build an appropriate, client-specific program. He she must also be able to pace the work out for and effective movement experience, communicate specific, applicable corrections, and use appropriate hands on ability.
All educational programs teaching the Pilates method of Exercise regardless of hours or number of exercises taught should provide the participants with the following information:
- The names of the exercises, apparatus and all of the various parts. (Not only mat)
- The appropriate sequencing of the exercises, repetitions, and the use of resistance.
- The appropriate set-up of the apparatus for each exercise and all possible safety issues.
- Proper spotting and verbal cuing techniques for each exercise.
- The components of each exercise (rhythm, tempo, dynamics, breath, flow, etc.)
- The objectives of each exercise.
- How to effectively modify, break down, and/or adapt an exercise.
- How to design a clients specific program
16. Does the course program of James Raaff & Associates fulfill all the requirements of a quality education provider?
Yes. Our joining hands with the ETA means that we have done all our homework. We have local and international experience and provide education and training as the largest nationally accredited fitness company in South Africa. For education, training, support and equipment all over Southern Africa and abroad, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
17. Is Pilates another exercise fad?
Remember that the Method (as it is sometimes called) has been around for about 80 years. With the aging of our population and the increasing trend toward mindful, moderate health practices, you are more likely to find Pilates studios have long wait lists. Many believe Pilates should be introduced to public schools, shaping the fitness ideals of our next generation.