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Growth for the Pilates Community

Pilates is growing up here in the greater Seattle/Tacoma area and I'm sensing a need for some inner growth as well. I drafted this post in 2020 and so it's sat in this place of pondering, wishing, and reflecting. What would I like for my beloved modality and profession as we come out of the pandemic, shake off the past four years, and bloom. Pilates communities are small coves in neighborhoods, so let's connect with these wishes and, allow more in to have a beautiful, safe, place to be well and move together. Here are 6 big ways I would love to see impact my beloved Pilates spaces.

Accessibility - Pilates is for the affluent. I was looking at how much my peers are charging and oh my!! And, you don't see sliding scale offerings. I think the Pilates community can learn from the larger yoga community. Pilates is for all.

Example: Pricing and lack of sliding scale pricing. The cost of group Pilates classes are out of control. That used to be a way of providing accessibility to a modality that is best suited for private sessions. $30-$40 dollars vs $70-90 for a private session. Folks, when I started this path more than 10 years ago pricing has soared......

Diversity and Inclusivity - I know I'm a white lady, who found Pilates in an affluent area of LA but, I desire to see more than a bunch of white ladies in Lululemon in my classes and around me. Don't get me wrong, I love Lululemon, the price for wear is unmatched but you get my point. I want others to feel safe and not singled out either.

Example: Language. Recently, I attended a studio with two peers, enjoyed the experience. My friend, a person who is a POC, wrote an accurate, positive review of the studio and the owner tore the review to shreds because she felt it had "woke" vernacular. I had never seen such a targeted microagression. A living example, in real time, of what makes Pilates spaces unwelcome to those that are different.

Another Language Example: Language around body shapes. Instructors, don't point out that one body that is the biggest and how to modify if you have a "bigger belly" vs just generally pointing out a modification if you need more space or something similar. Is it space for the belly, is it space for my shoulders, hip, personal space? I remember being taught after I had my second baby and the weight wasn't off yet and I just felt so singled out and uncomfortable. Not her or my desired effect but great reminder to be mindful.

More Trauma Informed Pilates Practitioners - Pilates peeps tend to be more fitness orientated and therefore missing the holistic effects and affects we have on our students. People aren't just bodies. We don't just work out biceps and gluts. Pilates works the whole person. Pilates practice can be forever changing in our inner confidence, strength and power.

Example: More mindfulness in the Pilatesland, read an actual book, go to training facilitated by experts not bloggers, or trendy social media personas.

Another Example: Pet peeve, Pilates instructors: don't stand at the end of the footbar and look onto the student/body in front of you..... Unless you are actively working football alignment magic, which is totally real, just don't be weird and unaware.

Less Gate Keeping - Why is there not a bunch of Pilates books??? Why do I have to go to workshops to gain access to knowledge about feet?? Another place the yogis have done well at, sharing information and wisdom.

Example: When a student asked me for more information on Pilates because she caught the Pilates bug, there wasn't much to offer her......

Staying True to PILATES - sticking to its beautiful principles found in Basi, STOTT, Balanced Body, Classical, and more trainings comprehensive trainings. (You can google who PMA accepts to their certification process to get a feel, although there's some argument to their process but it's a process of growth). These are Pilates people. NOT Lagree, Power, fitness studios. It's looking like in yoga land, there's a movement of how to defieriate between Yoga and yoga, or even yoga and asana. There needs to be a clear difference for newbies in Pilates. In my view of this industry there are Classical, Contemporary, and Fitness. Pilates moves with the breath. I repeat with the breath. Not for x amount of seconds like a HITT workout. That's fitness. And, if that's your thing, get it! But, don't call it Pilates. Oh, and an instructor/owner that doesn't know the history of Pilates or Joseph Pilates history - NOT a Pilates instructor.

Example: I think of myself as a great example of all three. My first Pilates training was a beautiful fusion of all three - taught by Marie Jose Blom (Classical), with a contemporary awareness of the Core and burn of it but, (Bless Amy Jordan, she knew how to adjust a centimeter to make the whole body light up!) and also knew how to burn like a power pilates class and infused with barre. After my contemporary training I wanted more though so I bridged over with the Balanced Body folks who in my opinion are trying to do the work. And, I would like to get PMA certified. I think the organization is trying to set true Pilates Professionals apart from the imposters.

Tracey Mallet also comes to mind as someone who I consider as a Pilates person even though she has workouts, barre and the rest. Hugely successful, respectable, intelligent, class act! I also met her, and took two of her trainings....

My point is there are teachers with other passions and are still true to Pilates.

Small Business Support: I think this is a bigger issue in our state and country. I would love to have my own brick and mortar studio. Be a leader in my community and area at large. I have the fire. The dedication. The know how. But, I simply don't have the funds nor childcare. Let's be real, it takes a village of professionals to pull that off and the brave do take it on but it can come with a lot of ego. We are all imperfect; I'd love to see our tiny community of Pilates professionals to be more connected to support these wishes and areas of growth.

Let us all be well together. Share our wisdom with each other. There is room for everybody.

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