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December 20, 2017

My Pilates is Better Than Your Pilates

by Mike Perry

It’s clear that within the Pilates teaching industry, the issue of authenticity remains at the heart of many discussions. I do my best not to interact with people I don’t know on social media these days (apologies to anyone whom I may have offended in the past, while having never met) and steer clear of forums. Nonetheless, I might see things over my wife’s shoulder, or read blog posts, like this one, or Sabrina Svard’s recent Pilates Intel article.

My first, knee-jerk reaction was “Who cares?” I appreciate that there are some teachers who learned directly from members of the Pilates family, or from “first generation” teachers, who feel very strongly about preserving, like an artifact, exactly what was passed on to them (and I respect that desire).

At the same time, I’m sure there are other teachers whose zeal is like that of the reformed smoker – they now know that what went before was wrong, and they’re now on the true path. Anyone not on that path needs to know how wrong and foolish they are. I get this, too. When I first converted to a primal/paleo way of eating, the results were so profound that I was certain I had found THE way. I needed to bolster my (apparently fragile) belief by evangelizing and denouncing.

Rebekah Le Magny implies (see the link above) that we have a responsibility, as teachers, to make sure that the public understands what Pilates is, but I think there are a couple of problems with this.

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Mike Perry – Mike’s introduction to Pilates came as a result of a lower back injury, partly caused by a passion for running but without proper muscular balance or physical awareness. Needing to cut back on running, he turned to cycling and triathlon instead but still suffered recurring bouts of severe back pain. On the recommendation of an osteopath he began Pilates studio classes and within a few sessions had decided to apply to train to be a Pilates teacher.
Given that, at the time, dance was the usual background for teachers, Mike felt very fortunate that a carpenter and cabinet maker could train to teach Pilates. He qualified as a Pilates matwork teacher in 2003 and completed his training in 2004.
More recently, Mike has been researching an evolutionary biology perspective on human health and movement, as championed by the likes of Mark Sisson, Katy Bowman and many others. This means a keen interest in nutrition, strength & conditioning and (much like Joseph Pilates) how our whole lifestyle influences our health. This is in keeping with the Pilates in Motion Studio philosophy that Pilates is a beginning, rather than an end in itself, and that, along with the many other benefits of Pilates, increased strength is an outcome we hope all of our clients will seek.
He is also a CrossFit Level 1 Trainer, and CrossFit Mobility Trainer.
Mike makes occasional blog posts, covering Pilates, fitness and nutrition, that can be seen at www.paleolates.com.