What is Pilates?

Two weekends ago I started a six week intensive Pilates teacher training program. 

For those of you wondering, "what's Pilates?" have a look at this animated history:

The one thing that I'm impressed with right away is the attention to anatomy in Pilates. The first weekend we focused just on bones and muscles. It is clear that Pilates really pays attention to anatomy, it is deeply in the thinking and training method. It's so refreshing to go back to basics done right.

One of the biggest problems I have with the fitness industry is our lack of proper certification. You can become a trainer in two weekend courses, that are soooooo basic and poorly taught. I could go on and on about this but if you're a trainer I think it's imperative that you also be a lifelong fitness learner. I try to take a new course every year and this year is the year of the Pilates!

I did take anatomy in university but I never really found it that useful because, unlike at this Pilates course, it was straight memory work but no real application to movement. For those of you who've never taken an anatomy the way you're tested is called a "Bell Ringer". You have 30 seconds to one minute to identify a bone, muscle, ligament, whatever and then you need to outline the function or insertion point and move on. It's INTENSE, I would literally sweat during the bell ringer. It's meant to mimic a real life situation but the stress that I had going into those tests was so terrible. I remember after my first bell ringer coming home to Matt and telling him I would pay him to dress up as me and take the test next time. I always did alright but taking a bell ringer was like getting a needle, the anticipation was terrible. So far Pilates has been much more pleasurable!

Last weekend we did a seven hour workshop just on observing bodies in motion. I've found myself staring at spines and head positioning all week long! It is fascinating to see how tiny changes in how you move can make such a huge difference to a workout.  I'm looking forward to this weekend of Pilates, I'll keep you posted on how it goes!