WHAT IS ORIGINAL PILATES?
ISN’T ALL PILATES THE SAME?
by Kerry De Vivo
When I began practicing Pilates in 1986, I had no idea what it was. While attending a 6-week summer dance program in 1986, it was mentioned that I could also register for a Pilates class. “Pilates?, never heard of it, sign me up!” was my reaction. Three times a week for three weeks, I had Pilates sessions doing the full Pilates Method, both mat and apparatus work. Back then, no one quantiﬁed Pilates with original or otherwise, but I was fortunate to be introduced to original Pilates and I was amazed at how the work affected me in just six weeks. When I started teaching Pilates in 1995, still no one knew what it was.
“Pilates, is that at type of food?” was a common response to my occupation. In time, Pilates became more commonly known. Over the years as Pilates gained in popularity, adaptations and evolutions of the original work occurred. Training programs directed by individuals who did not work in the direct lineage of Joseph Pilates emerged further diluting the intentions of Pilates’ original work. Eventually I found I had did have to quantify what I teach. First it was as Classical Pilates but now more specifically as Original Pilates.
So, what is original Pilates? After both Joe Pilates, and later his wife Clara, passed away, protege Romana Kryzanowska took over the studio preserving the work of Pilates both in it’s exercises and spirit. What makes Pilates original is the roots to the traditional work, the use of traditional apparatus and the maintenance of the spirit and intention of the work. There is a rhythm and ﬂow to a session. There is the idea that clients are to be as independent from teachers as possible to truly self discover about their bodies and meet their physical ﬁtness potential (which requires guidance from a well trained teacher).
The original Pilates Method, is a sound, systematic, tried and true method of body conditioning that has been around for ages and can be used by ALL bodies. A teacher comprehensively trained in original Pilates, from a ﬁrst or second generation teacher working from the direct lineage of Joseph Pilates, understands the function of each exercise, the apparatus, the layering system and how to properly guide a client through a session as well as session design. Original Pilates has had a profound effect on my life as a second generation teacher. I have had the pleasure to witness the power of original Pilates on clients to reach their full potential for physical ﬁtness.
“Physical ﬁtness is the ﬁrst requisite of happiness. Our interpretation of physical ﬁtness is the attainment and maintenance of a uniformly developed body with a sound mind fully capable of naturally, easily, and satisfactorily performing our many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure.”
- Joseph H. Pilates.
Excel Pilates Annapolis is dedicated to preserving and sharing the power of this amazing system of exercise known today as the original Pilates Method.