What does it mean to be a Fully Qualified Pilates Instructor?

I have been teaching The Pilates Method for over 15 years now and have seen a huge growth in its popularity.  It is exciting that so many people are now benefiting from what is essentially a great movement experience.  It can also be a little daunting when you may be searching for a Pilates studio or choosing to become a Pilates teacher and are really not sure what to expect or what the studio or education body really offers.

Not only is Pilates a wonderful way to stay fit and healthy but is also an excellent form of rehabilitation for anybody who may be recovering from an injury or for those suffering from back issues or any other condition that may limit their movement and quality of life.  

Whether you like a fast paced fitness style class or need something a little more specific, it is important to understand the differences, what each can offer and what you are really paying for. There are many different styles of Pilates classes currently being offered in the marketplace and these can range from physio-based rehabilitation classes to large group fitness classes in more of a gym setting.  This also means that there is a wide range of teacher training being offered.  Somewhere in between the physiotherapy clinics and fitness centres usually sits the more traditional style Pilates studio that offers either a traditional approach or a more contemporary approach to teaching The Pilates Method.

The Pilates Method

Core Pilates is an example of a more traditional style Pilates studio, teaching the work of Joseph Pilates with a contemporary approach.   This means our instructors have all trained through a government accredited diploma program and have studied consistently for 12 to 18 months with over 600 hours of study and work experience to gain this qualification.  This means that not only do they need to master the exercises within their own bodies but they also need to understand the movement patterns required to teach and progress each exercise safely and appropriately.  They also need to learn how to modify and vary exercises based on a person’s individual needs, abilities or restrictions, and then create a program that meets the clients needs.  There are actually over 500 exercises described in the Pilates Method and it takes our instructors a lot of time and commitment to learn all of the exercises, master them in their own bodies and understand how to teach and program each exercise.

Our studios are often referred to as “fully equipped” Pilates studios.  This means that we are equipped with a full range of Pilates apparatus that includes the Reformer, Cadillac, Wunda Chair and barrels along with other small apparatus.  It is common for people to think that Pilates is only done on a mat or reformer bed, but in fact there are many more pieces of apparatus that are used to teach Pilates and each piece is unique in what it can offer the body.

The Pilates Method is all about working the body holistically by moving a person through all ranges of motion (unless they are limited or unable to move in certain ranges) whilst teaching the essential principles of the work.  These principles set traditional Pilates apart from other exercise systems available and are:

  • Breathing
  • Concentration
  • Control
  • Centring
  • Flow and;
  • Precision

And adding 2 additional contemporary principles of:

  • Alignment and;
  • Commitment

When taught from the basis of these principles Pilates can most certainly change not only your body and the way you move, but also your mindset.  This is where the true magic happens!

To truly understand this, a teacher needs to have experienced it, learnt how these principles apply to the repertoire and be able to communicate this when teaching another person or group.   If these principles are never mentioned then I would question the authenticity of this being a “Pilates” class, it may be an exercise class and that is fine, but it may not be Pilates.

So, when I consider the term “Pilates teacher” for me this means this person has the ability to teach The Pilates Method rather than instruct an exercise class that includes some Pilates exercises.  This can make a huge difference when deciding what it is you need or are looking for.  Are you looking simply for exercise instruction or are you more interested in learning about how your body moves, challenge your movement potential and gain long term results from the inside out?

So how do you choose? 

There are many Pilates classes available out there and all come at different costs and I am a true believer in the phrase “you get what you pay for”.   To commit to a life of teaching means the teacher must also be a student and be accountable for maintaining a level of professionalism within the industry.

The Pilates industry has two regulatory bodies, the Pilates Alliance Australasia (PAA) and the Australian Pilates Method Alliance (APMA) both of which set guidelines and parameters that must be followed to be a member. This includes recognition of training and continuing education.  To be a member of either of these bodies a teacher must have completed a fully comprehensive Pilates training program that includes the 600 hours of study and apprentice teaching and maintain adequate continuing education each year. Like any continued learning it is up to the individual teacher to invest money and time towards their own growth as a professional.

You will most likely notice that class prices may appear higher in your more traditional Pilates studio over studios that offer maximum number group classes.  Why??  Consider the individual service being offered, the quality of equipment and the education level of the teacher and their commitment and dedication to maintaining a membership to a professional body. This not only keeps you safe but the industry as a whole maintains its professionalism.

At Core Pilates we are all about knowledge and making choices that are right for you.

All instructors at Core Pilates are members of the Pilates Alliance Australasia. Their website https://www.pilates.org.au/ provides a great resource for you to be able to search for an Accredited Pilates Teacher or Studio, or find information on becoming a fully qualified in Pilates Instruction.

I write this article in the hope to help you understand the difference when you are looking at choosing a Pilates class or Studio, or if you are looking to begin your journey and become a Pilates Teacher.

Whatever choice you make let it be the right one for you!

Yours in Good Health

Lisa Jackson

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *