So Much More Than Yoga Pants

This is a matter I hold very close to my heart so I wanted to share with my readers a little background on what it takes to become a certified comprehensive Pilates Instructor, what that means, how it affects you and your experience and I encourage you to do your homework and find out a little more about who you’re working with.

I studied Pilates at Body Harmonics which is one of the many various different methods offered to future instructors in Toronto. I was lucky to have chosen this school as it allowed me to learn about Pilates, the classical exercises, the way Joseph Pilates intended his method to be used, but above this, we learned to take it to the next level and to use the principles of Pilates to teach movement. Basically, what we teach is movement, we teach the person, we don’t teach the “exercise” as every body is different and not every exercise is designed to suit everyone. 

To become a Mat Pilates Instructor, you need to take 160 hours of in class training followed by 30-50 hours of practice teaching and studying. For the Reformer Pilates equipment training, you need to take 275 hours of in class training followed by 200 hours of practice teaching, self-practice and studying. For the final level, which is called Cadillac, Chair, Springboard and Barrel, you need to take 275 hours of in class training followed by 200 hours of practice teaching, self-practice and studying. After each level, you must pass a written and practical exam that requires full understanding of anatomy and the prescribed exercises and potential modifications and a deep level of logic to assess when an exercise is recommended and when it isn’t. This is a total of over 1000 hours (taken over a span of 18 months) to become a Comprehensive Pilates Instructor.

The downfall is that we are all called “Pilates Instructors” and there is no licence or registered association that we are a part of that can guarantee that we have sufficient training and/or knowledge to teach you proper movement. In my interviewing process after opening my studio a couple of years back, I met Instructors that did their training 20 years ago and still teach to this day what they learned 20 years ago without having ever continued their education. The Pilates they teach is what their clients will deem as Pilates. Trust me, it’s not.

There are researchers in the field of movement that study and write thesis assignments based on the work that they do. Movement Specialists, studio owners, teacher training schools read these and create easy to understand programs based on this research to be made available to all Pilates Instructors and movement practitioners. This is called continuing education.

The same way you want your doctor to be abreast of what’s new, your hairdresser to be in the know of the new styles and what’s hot, your favourite boutiques to carry the new fashions, you’ll want your Instructors to be educated on the new discoveries they’ve made in the world of fitness and movement. 

I ask you, the reader, to be conscious of the differences in levels of training and until we can all be on the same page, it is up to you, the client, to make sure the person you are working with is fully trained and actually well versed in what they preach. You might find fully trained Instructors in gyms, studios, senior centres and/or homes and clinics. There is no way to tell who has what level of training. 

We, at The Cornerstone Pilates in Burlington pride ourselves in only hiring Instructors that are comprehensively trained as we work with multiple various types of injuries, conditions and ailments. You know you can trust our level of expertise and service. There are many similar studios that offer the same level of proficiency in their Instructors, it’s up to you to do the homework and find out if there’s one near you.

Jocelyne Pelchat - Principal - The Cornerstone Pilates Inc.
Body Harmonics ®-CPT · PMA®-CPT ·
RYT · Biomechanics and Post Rehab Specialist