Joseph Pilates created a syllabus of work that he called Contrology. The syllabus is the entire Mat series of exercises in his book Return to Life and the original exercises on all of the equipment. Many Pilates teachers have other equipment in residence at their studios. There are balls, rollers, therabands, straps, balance boards and many other ingenious adjuncts to assist clients understand Contrology. It is important to remember that the Pilates movement principles applied to the original work are the source of the transformation for our clients. While other equipment may assist with understanding of the original work, it is critical that all teachers learn the foundation of Contrology with depth and understanding before introducing other elements. It is also very important that we educate with clarity about what is the Pilates method in historical content. We can acknowledge other tools and innovations, but we must start from the foundation.
Perhaps this sounds restrictive. The word Pilates has been “tagged” onto so many other products because it is a marketing tool. This does not do justice to the public understanding of the Pilates method. Clients do not know what Pilates is and what is not Pilates unless we are clear as teachers.
Injustice by not crediting teachers of other movement education is not honest and respectful. There are many other teachers of diversity who have spent a life of study and development in the contribution of their work and expertise.
One of my students told me that this “Pilates stuff” he was learning would be very good for golfers. I have been told this by climbers, runners, dancers, gymnasts, actors, musicians, injured people, seniors and the list is endless. I always tell them that it is the Pilates method that is good for every body.
Let us not forget as teachers that Contrology is an excellent program of education. We owe it to our community to keep the work clear and true.