In Pilates, style matters. The closer one is to the method originated by Joseph Pilates, the more authentic the experience. How do you know how close you are in your own practice? You look to the lineage of your teacher. Joseph Pilates is the creator or "progenitor". His direct students, who with his blessing went on to teach his method, became the first generation of Pilates teachers, now known as the Pilates Elders.
I am fortunate enough to be studying under two renowned 2nd generation teachers: Brooke Siler and Cary Regan. These teachers studied, were certified by, and taught alongside Romana Kryzanowska, a 1st generation teacher and Joseph Pilates' protege of 30 years and chosen successor. What this means for my students is that they are receiving instruction as it was handed down, without alterations.
Many styles of Pilates have evolved over the years, some bear resemblance to the original system, while others have taken on a life of their own and simply bear the "Pilates" name because of their core-based focus.
Classical Pilates has remained consistent over the years and free of gimmicks because of the faithfulness of its teachers. And the teachers and practitioners recognize that within the original system there is enough challenge to last a lifetime so that there is no need to be adapting the method to follow market trends.
My week in New York was an eye opening experience. I came away from it with a new appreciation for movement therapy and the vision of a man who in his time (and ours) was light years ahead. As I work towards becoming a 3rd generation teacher, it is my hope that I will in turn inspire others to follow suit, and so pass on the torch.