I have been asked a question that stymied me initially. “Is the Pilates practice based on a religion or is it a cult?” My answer is no. Pilates is an internationally recognized exercise system that is certified. The Pilates Method Alliance (PMA) has such a designation called the PMA Pilates Certification Program. This program has met the standards for accreditation by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).
When I began the study and practice of Pilates 29 years ago, people would call the studio with many questions. The most interesting question for me was the confusion about Pilates which was mistaken for Pilot training schools. Occasionally there would be questions regarding yoga and meditation. In Boulder, Colorado, we are fortunate to have a diverse community that welcomes all approaches to spiritual practice. Our community embraces alternative medicine and supports many alternative schools. We are also home to elite athletes due to the environment and high altitude training opportunities.
Joseph H. Pilates developed his exercise system which he called Contrology, now known as Pilates, in the 1920’s. Joe had three basic principles; Whole Body Health, Whole Body Wellness, and Breath. Joe was passionate about health and vitality for everyone. He was also concerned about the lack of health, fitness, and enthusiasm for life that he observed in the population at that time in history. It is interesting that today we are facing a health crisis with the expanding senior population and increased life expectancy as well as the deteriorating health of our children. Joe did not talk about religion and nothing is mentioned about church or state in his writings.
When Pilates came to Boulder it was another exercise system for training increased body awareness for health. The athletes embraced this as a method of cross training. The medical community began to recognize the potential for Pilates to be a tool for rehabilitation. I first taught at a health club and eventually moved into Boulder Osteopathic Center where Pilates was the rehabilitation modality for the patients. We did not speak of religion or politics. People wanted wellness and they left the office to go do whatever they did in their private lives.
Since then, I have taught many workshops in the USA and internationally. I have had people of many different cultures and religions. At no time did the content of Pilates diverge into religion.
At Pat Guyton Pilates we seek to offer health, wellness, and vitality for life. We honor your choices for personal practice outside of the studio. We believe that increasing your health will bring greater joy in whatever activities in which you choose to participate.
That is part of our mission.