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  • Writer's pictureGrace

Authentic and Classical Pilates - It's not just the Reformer

Updated: Oct 17, 2023

Classical Pilates Studio owner in Rotterdam

So, this year I decided yet again to invest in more training! All the way in cultural Rotterdam!

As you know, I began Pilates learning the contemporary method, only to discover later that this was more like 'pre-Pilates'. We did a tiny amount of classical mat which is actually just your regular mat, or it was in Joe's (Joseph Pilates) time.

After then completing 600 hours of comprehensive training with someone who learned from Romana ( Romana was Joseph Pilates' most famous student and created the Classical system), I felt very much satisfied. The Classical Pilates Method doesn't just use the Reformer but so many other pieces of apparatus to change the body. This was what I had been searching for! No more holding back and being kept like a tiger in a cage, confined to pre-Pilates moves. Every exercise, even simple ones left my body quivering. It was awesome.

Only once I learnt that I wanted more.

I wanted stronger, more flexibility and I would get glimpses of this every time I got taught an 'archival' exercise. 'Archival' simply means the very first versions of the exercises, done the way Joe would have done them. I learnt how these got changed so much as different teachers added their own twists. When they were modified a lot for say someone injured they became what we now call pre-Pilates. Of course, it's great to have this knowledge for those who do need it, but what if your clients are relatively healthy? Should we still only be teaching them 'pre-Pilates'?

So, in Rotterdam I am revisiting the classical system but with a teacher who both knew and lived with Romana. But I am also learning Joe's (Joseph Pilates) way sometimes called 'archival' or 'authentic' because it's directly from Joe. Joe's method instead of stopping at pre- Pilates, actually will train someone to the level of an Olympic athlete. It's powerful but safe. Anything unsuitable can be skipped because we have many other exercises that can be used instead. And there are tons. There are over 300 on the Table (Cadillac). Then over 300 again for arm springs. When you have all of the available equipment not just the Reformer or the Mat you will always have options for your client's needs.

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