How to choose a good Pilates course?

Got to love the blogging factor - you get to write (once) things you have discussed and will be continuously asked to discuss. Having been involved in Teacher Training, movement career guidance and the growth of Pilates in South Africa since 1999, I am asked this question many, many times.

As always, it depends on what you are looking for personally. I have explored, represented & experienced many different courses, nationally & internationally. There is a great deal of good out there to access. A great business model will refer you the way a google search does.

In my humble (as objective as possible) opinion, always question the obvious...

Course content
This needs to be cutting edge biomechanics, evolved but with a deep connection & reference to Joseph Pilates’ original work - delivered without the superiority that contributes to inferiority.

Learning tools
It is essential that there are ways to stream line the learning process. You are an adult learner not a school child, you need access to content support to keep yourself independently motivated and engaged in the learning process.

Learning from someone who LIVES the method is paramount. What is the depth of their experience? How many types of Pilates have they been exposed to? What is the wealth of their knowledge? The breadth of their philosophy? Can you see & feel the method in their bodies? Do they experience a broad spectrum of Pilates? THIS is very NB - you do not want to learn from a closed community. You definitely want to access an openly global network.

What hoops do you need to jump through? Will these steps empower you as an individual, a teacher and a business owner? Does the program meet your personal, career and financial objectives? How long will it really take? What do you walk away being able to teach in reality? Will the course equip you to earn from Day 1?

Are there tools for you to participate and enhance your knowledge from a distance?
Is there a comprehensive system of post certification support?

There is currently no united governing body for this industry (worldwide) due to the volume and variety of courses. Unfortunately it is not a University degree, where each course/degree is standardized and therefore recognized across the board nationally and often internationally.

Pilates, like Yoga, is a unique movement system aspiring to maintain the standards & philosophies handed down from the 'forefather/s' via individuals over time.

You can take professional steps (insurance, continued education) to support your career standing, however, the truth of it is that you are essentially only as good as your teaching reputation and ethics.

International recognition
Make sure this means nothing but "can you be employed globally". A reputable Pilates studio will always audition a teacher, illustrating the point that the proof is in the pudding.

The Register of Exercise Professionals is exactly that, a register in South Africa, Australia, Europe & the UK for Exercise teachers, which include Pilates Matwork Teachers.

The Pilates Method Alliance has a National Commission for Certifying Agencies accredited exam standardising Pilates knowledge across the board for ALL equipment qualified Pilates Teachers. You need proof of 450 hours of training on the equipment to write this exam.

Some of the best Teacher Training programmes in the world are not affiliated to any governing bodies for the pure fact that the work speaks for itself.

Question everything - make up your own mind here. Go where you feel comfortable/challenged.

From my more subjective self...
Which form of Pilates makes you feel good?
Which method feels accessible?
How best do you learn?
Do you see the product you are looking for in the flesh, i.e. Are they REAL, moving, Pilates people?
Is there a sense of business/professional ethic?
Do you like who & what you see?
Is the path forward clear and doable?
Do you feel supported and set up for success?

Do your research and trust your gut...welcome to the beginning of your journey harmonising mind and body!