The Pilates Community is at a crossroads. Where we go from here is up to us.
MY generation of teachers faces a conundrum. Our industry operates on hearsay and reinvention. Where the Pilates Method goes from here is up to us.
JOSEPH Pilates died in 1967. The “elders”, those who studied directly with Mr. Pilates, are gone or ageing. Those who were lucky enough to work with the elders do their best to pass along the stories and keep the integrity of Joe’s original work. But my generation of teachers, and the generations to come, are without the Master or his apprentices. This second, third, or fourth hand information has become like a game of telephone, every iteration a little more distorted than the last. Factions insist that their way, was Joe’s way, or that science has allowed us to “know more” and therefore feel confident distorting the original. But let’s try to remember that Joseph Pilates’s greatest talent, was his instinct.
THIS man created a method of fitness, of body reformation, with virtually no medical or anatomical training. He used the experiences of his own body, his logical mind, his knowledge of simple mechanical physics (he was an avid inventor, after all!), and years of practice on a multitude of body types to create a system of exercises so effective that virtually all forms of modern fitness contain aspects of his methods, principles, or choreography.
SO where do we go from here? To reinvent the wheel is to lose all that makes the Pilates Method special. There are story after story of attempts to “improve” the method failing. But rigidly relying on the testimony of elders long gone has created an army of script readers, rather than teachers. We do not need to reinvent the Pilates Method, and we do not need to copy Joseph Pilates or his elders. We need to think like him.
AND that is what I attempt to do, everyday. I use the stories that I have heard, the photos and videos that I have seen, the teachers that have inspired me, and my own understanding of physics and anatomy to solve the mysteries in every exercise. I hope to take the Pilates Method into the future with integrity, history, and logic.
I AM THE PILATES DETECTIVE. Welcome to my world. We’re going to have a lot of fun.
- Lanette Weninger, Pilates Detective