Updated: Dec 31, 2019

When we talk about Pilates, we often face the dilemma of differentiating and choosing between Authentic and Contemporary Pilates. So, to make things clear, let’s first talk about what Pilates is. Pilates is a physical movement system, designed to improve physical strength, flexibility, posture and enhance mental awareness.

Pilates may not have started off that strong but now, in the modern world, they are considered as one of the best physical exercises to keep yourself physically and mentally active. It is an exercise that doesn’t only look out for the physical aspects of your body, but rather, it also helps to maintain a mental stability within the mind, helping it to relax and let go of unwanted stress. The early training programs were rigorous and demanding and teachers were expected to not only gain an in depth understanding of the method, but to also be able to teach and demonstrate a wide variety of exercises on multiple pieces of equipment. This has helped the modern version of Pilates become more advance and highly-equipped for the modern generation thus helping people get the best out of their exercise. Working with all the parts and not just one component, makes it a powerful system. The transitions between exercises are exercises in themselves. It’s important to keep the work one seamless, continuous flow. It’s fluid and efficient. Classical Pilates is a dynamic, controlled, and flowing exercise.

Now let’s talk about a few things to consider when talking about Authentic and Contemporary Pilates:

Difference between Authentic and Contemporary Pilates:

Authentic/Classical Pilates and Contemporary Pilates are the two primary classifications of Pilates. In the original Classical Pilates method there is a sequence to the work, which was designed by Joseph Hubertus Pilates. The sequence builds intelligently with foundational exercises at the beginning and more complex exercises as you gain strength and control. Authentic Pilates focus on preserving the exercises as Joseph Pilates taught them and in the order he taught them, while Contemporary Pilates may incorporate new exercises and variations inspired from other modalities and exercise techniques. Classical Pilates will generally teach abdominal exercises in a “posterior tilt” meaning that, when laying on one’s back the lower spine is completely pressed into the floor, creating a tuck in the pelvis, while Contemporary Pilates will generally teach exercises in a “neutral pelvis” or the position one’s spine is in when standing upright in a healthy posture.

I often asked by the other Pilates teachers which route am I following. Well, as much as I respect and admire the Authentic Pilates technique, I love to explore new ways to move on mat or on any Pilates Apparatus. The possibility of movement is endless and if we have the tools of knowledge, by respecting the method and principles, we can create wonders. As Pilates teachers we must understand and adapt into modern research on physical therapy and biomechanics. Embracing innovation by being true to the basis. In today's Pilates scene I see lots of insufficient instructors, doing all sort of crazy stuff on different Pilates apparatus. They are the ones harming the name of Pilates. The line is very thin and only a teacher who is capable enough can understand the difference between contemporary pilates and doing acrobatics on reformer.

Are you passionate about healing through Pilates?

Whether it's an Authentic or Contemporary, Pilates is an exercise that can transform your mind and body into a peaceful garden if you are passionate about healing through it. It has the power to heal many injuries and stabilize the mind to help you get the best view of everything. This may all sound like blank words, but when you start a session with your Pilates therapist, all you need to do is lie on the mat and let them work you up to get to see the real difference between these words and reality and how narrow the difference between them really is. Now that you have the information, you should start considering Pilates as an essential that you need in order to see life in a better and more stress-free physical environment.