The Key to Teaching Authentic Pilates

Perhaps, like many, you are uncertain with the two different meanings of the word, “authentic”.  It’s a very trendy word right now and can be used to describe something that is genuine.  A few words that describe authentic are; real, not counterfeit and true to a region.  I know it is confusing.  But there’s a way out.

The older meaning of “authenticity” is “genuine” like an authentic Champagne, it’s only authentic if it comes from the Champagne region of France, which is why Italian white sparkling wine is called Prosecco.  In relation to Pilates, the common word for this is Classical. If you teach the way in which Papa Joe taught, then you are teaching classical Pilates, the original style of Pilates.  If you teach in a way that is authentic to your personal experience and your beliefs about how the body works, then this too can be considered authentic Pilates.  The Pilates industry may have come under the influence of polarization and I want to offer my perspective.

If you have read my previous blogs, then you have an idea of how I came to experience Pilates and how it has become my life mission to teach movement.  Notice that I did not my write that it is my life mission to teach Pilates. I believe that Joseph did not set out to teach Pilates rather, he set out to teach movement and with that, his personal experience.  He created a unique way to teach movement that resonated with himself and his students. I have set out much in the same way but in a different region, era and background.  I use the word Pilates to describe my teachings because I work with his amazing equipment and I still use many of his original exercises in conjunction with my unique exercises which came about out of necessity due to my injuries and personal developmental needs.

We are all on our unique life path and hopefully blessed to share our experiences with one another. As a Pilates teacher, I impart my personal movement growth with my students which makes my method and style of teaching very unique.  I have recently discovered the power of social media and how it can positively connect teachers from all over the world.  I started posting a few years back and was surprised how many individuals were drawn to my athletic approach to the Pilates method.  I would say that the majority of feedback from most teachers is very supportive, however, I have had a few interactions with classical teachers who have said that I should take the word Pilates out of my title.

I am both Polestar Pilates certified, and Pilates Method Alliance accredited.  I strongly believe that continued education is paramount for growth as a teacher and the linage in which you learned the method is less important that the authenticity of how you teach.  Polestar Pilates is more method-based movement with an emphasis on teaching critical thinking skills.  I teach the method based on how the work resonates with me and find that many of the classical exercises are contraindicated with my injuries. Finding ways to move safely and efficiently, is my primary goal.  Teaching the classical repertoire is perfectly suitable for some and quite beautiful to watch.  Learning movement that makes you feel good and positively influences your everyday life is what Pilates means to me.

Get out there and teach from your personal experience.  Make every day an opportunity to learn and grow and be authentic!!