We believe that an essential part of the Pilates technique is that the exercises are best performed under the guidance of a qualified teacher. Itís best to have a few lessons with a teacher and then perhaps repeat the exercises at home.
Before starting a Pilates training a valuation lesson is always recommended. After that lesson the Pilates teacher suggests the most suitable attendance according to the physical condition of the client and the goals he wants to reach.
When you go to a center to approach the Pilates method youíd better inquire about the training background of the teachers who, upon successful completion of the Teacher Training course, have to receive the necessary teaching certification from a professional high-quality school. Beware of classes with more than 10 students, because it is hard for a teacher to follow and correct a higher number of students during a Mat Work class. By the way, there are different programs, like the so-called Mat4ME, that only draw inspiration from some of the Pilates principles and can be thus carried out in a group class with a higher number of students.
J.H. Pilates didnít leave any heir, but only many pupils who decided to continue the work started by their master. Yet, all of them followed their own way. Thatís why we canít speak of an official school, even if in the U.S. the most famous schools were created by his first pupils, such as Romana Kryzanowska, Ron Fletcher, Kathy Grant and Lolita San Miguel, all still working. In Europe the so-called ďthird-generationĒ schools opened, that is those founded by the teachers who learned the technique from his first pupils. Thatís what happened in Italy where the Pilates method was first introduced by Anna Maria Cova, an ex ballerina and rehab therapist, who got her certification with Romana Kryzanowska and opened her first studio in Milan in 1989.
The cost of a private lesson of the Pilates method (that is one hour followed by a qualified teacher) can be compared to that of a massage, a physiotherapy or beauty treatment (the latter can be even more expensive). The technique, which is so varied, complex but rich in benefits, has to be performed in lessons followed by a teacher and not in group sessions like many fitness activities. Thatís why itís not possible to have cheaper prices. Nonetheless, you can practice the Pilates method saving some money. If you donít have any particular problem, after a few private lessons you can join the semi-private lessons (with three or four people). Moreover, many centers have free-body lessons (Mat Work) in small groups. Both these solutions are cheaper. Since this technique can be practiced with other physical activities the benefits can be felt even attending the lessons once a week or every fifteen days.
And then, once you learn the exercises, you can train at home by yourselves alternating the studio sessions.
The Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) is an international association which includes some of the very first pupils of J.H. Pilates (Mary Bowen, Ron Fletcher, Kathy Grant, Lolita San Miguel). It aims at establishing and maintaining the standards concerning the certification programs and the updating and growth of the Pilates professionals.
This association wasnít created by J.H. Pilates Ė no imprimatur was ever applied for by him Ė and is not well accepted by the whole Pilates community. Thatís why many important schools and teachers like Romana Kryzanowska or the Pilates Studio in New York didnít join the association.
The Studio Pilates of Milan decided to become a PMA member in 2004, because this association may serve as an information resource for all Pilates teachers and schools worldwide.
Over the years the Pilates method has grown through both new discoveries in the medical Ė scientific fields and the contribution of teachers who have spread the technique worldwide. In Italy Anna Maria Cova has evolved and enriched the technique through her constant dedication to the method, her years of teaching experience, her work as rehab physiotherapist and interaction with other disciplines and teachers. As a result, whilst maintaining the original corpus in tact, she has suceeded in injecting new intuition into what is called the CovaTech Pilates method. This definition CovaTech Pilates just wants to be an added guarantee of quality. This technique has become very popular in Italy nowadays, partly due to our personal investment over the years, yet many centers offer Pilates courses with unqualified teaching staff. So CovaTech Pilates ensures the quality of the method and protects the client.
It isnít all that easy for a client to understand if the Pilates method course is run by a qualified teacher or not. It is always best to check on the training by asking which school the teacher has attended, what type of certificate has been awareded and if the teacher attends annual refresher courses. With a quick browse on internet you can check the credentials of the school and the teacher trainers. In order to have an exact knowledge of the technique, the teacher must have full knowledge of both free body work and apparatus work, acquired through theoretical and practical study, have passed the final exam and must regularly attend at least one refresher course a year. All teachers and centers listed on www.studio-pilates.it satisfy these conditions and are vouched for by the Studio Pilates Srl, which for some time now has been committed to the correct spreading of the method in Italy.
Since the Pilates method is not an aerobic discipline, it doesnít burn your excess fat. However, it is perfect, when combined with a healthy diet and a physical activity, such as running or swimming, for full-body muscle toning, shaping and this made-to-measure program generally makes you feel fit both physically and mentally.
The Pilates method is considered a soft gym since it stresses on the importance of control and correct breathing leading to slow, but flowing movements. Nonetheless, this does not mean that it is a ďlightĒ technique. The Pilates method features a range of exercises that, on one side, relax your body and mind but, on the other, are very hard, require a high level of concentration and enable all muscle groups to tone up.