From the consumer standpoint finding a Pilates instructor can be tricky business. For one, anyone can go online and get “certified” in Pilates. On the other end of the spectrum one could engage in a nearly 1000 hour program like I was fortunate enough to do at The Pilates Center in Boulder, Colorado. The vast difference between these two ends of the spectrum go without saying.
The reason for this vast disparity in the Pilates industry came about due to the fact that no one owns the Pilates name. That is another, longer story which I wont partake in now. The point is however is that any Tom, Dick or Harry can use the name and that as a consumer it can be confusing on who to trust with your most sacred possession, your body.
In recent years the Pilates industry has identified this problem and an organization called the Pilates Method Alliance has been formed to help legitimize the industry and create professional standards around safety and depth of training.
One of the ways the PMA has sought to ensure quality in the industry is by developing an exam. Mind you the exam, in and of itself has limitations, as all written exams do. What makes it reassuring as a client is that to even sit for the exam one has to have completed at least a comprehensive 450 hour training program.
So, if you are looking for a Pilates Instructor, you can at least have a start as you weed through your local options. Mind you, it is certainly possible and often probable that great teachers are not affiliated with the PMA. Best way to find out is to try them out for three sessions. You should know by the time three session are up if the teacher is right for you or whether Pilates is right for you. A bit of advice, if you come away thinking that Pilates is not right for you, try another teacher. Pilates should feel inherently right, its just the nature of Pilates done well. Good luck!