The Pilates and Yoga Training Debate

by Shirley Archer, JD, MA on Jul 01, 2003

What type of training creates competent teachers? The Pilates and Yoga Training Debate By Shirley Archer, JD, MA With classes ranging from "Disco Yoga" to "Aquatic Pilates," today's consumers can find some version of yoga or Pilates, whether they live in small, quiet towns or giant urban centers. Participation is expected to increase, owing to consumer appeal and mounting medical evidence that mind-body exercise can promote health. Pilates and yoga are among the fastest-growing activities, according to the IDEA Trendwatch. July-August 2003 IDEA Health & Fitness Source Regardless of whether health club yoga and HOW TO DEFINE COMPETENCIES It's no surprise that yoga and Pilates are topping growth ACROSS DISCIPLINES? charts for fitness facility activities. According to American Some tension in the debate regarding uniform standards of Sports Data (ASD) Inc., most participants are females aged teacher training and certification arises because neither yoga 35 and above, the same demographic group with the most nor Pilates comes from the fitness industry, but both are growth for health club memberships (IHRSA/ASD Health popular in club settings. Consumers, looking to fitness facilClub Trends Report). It's reasonable to project that this ities to serve all their interests, request mind-body programs. group will push future demand for mind-body programs. Clubs want to increase member satisfaction and enhance For consumers, however, the prevailing environment is retention. Many health and fitness facilities find that adding "Buyer, beware" when seeking a qualified yoga or Pilates successful programs also attracts new members. Regardless trainer. Inexperienced consumers have little guidance for of whether people think these programs belong in fitness or evaluating an instructor's competence. Neither do fitness not, health club yoga and Pilates programs have arrived. managers trying to decide how to hire or train staff. Can fitAlthough yoga and Pilates represent divergent movement ness staff be adequately trained during a weekend course? Is styles with different philosophies and training objectives, it necessary to hire a yogi or Pilates veteran with 10 years in they are both mind-body exerthe ashram or studio? What level cise disciplines that require speof training is appropriate for cialized training. Pilates is a instructors in the fitness setting? modern mind-body discipline While confusion reigns, comcreated to improve physical pelling reasons require that we conditioning. Yoga is an ancient focus on the issues. Yoga- and practice designed to prepare the Pilates-related injuries and insurbody for meditation and the ance claims are on the rise among practitioner for enlightenment. the IDEA members he insures, Both disciplines originally observes Jeff Frick, program involved teachers who provided manager and CEO, Fitness & individualized training by Wellness Insurance Agency. An observing students' movement increase in reported injuries is patterns and redirecting these natural as any activity grows in Sources: Superstudy of Sports Participation by American Sports Data Inc.; 2002 IDEA Fitness Programs and Equipment Survey. through very small changes in popularity, simply because of the posture. greater volume of participation. Fitness training is rooted in the Western sciences of anatoAt the same time, injuries need to be minimized to ensure my, biomechanics and exercise physiology. Fitness traditionconsumer participation and to protect businesses from costly ally focuses on specific exercises to improve cardiovascular lawsuits. Further, if the industry fails to regulate itself adeendurance or to condition major muscle groups. Teaching quately, it runs the risk of government regulation. fitness does not necessarily require an understanding of sub"It is important for the industry to step back and think tle movement. about a long-term approach," believes Peter Davis, CEO of According to Hansa Knox, president of Yoga Alliance and IDEA Health & Fitness Association. "It is a real risk if conowner of a yoga teacher training school, "A lot of the differsumers are getting injured or having bad experiences. It's ences between yoga and fitness come from differences in important for the growth of the fitness industry that cushow yoga approaches anatomy and how fitness approaches tomers have high-quality experiences and that fitness profesanatomy. For example, in a forward bend, a fitness person sionals come up with self-regulating standards." typically focuses on the hamstrings, whereas a yoga teacher This article explores the issues so you are adequately will look at lengthening the spine through releasing the informed about the debate. In 2002, an estimated 11.1 million Americans practiced yoga 4.7 million practiced Pilates 85% of IDEA businesses offered yoga 63% of IDEA businesses offered Pilates


Pilates Yoga

IDEA Health Fitness Source , Volume 2004, Issue 7

© 2003 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA IDEA Author/Presenter

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, was the 2008 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year and is IDEA's mind-body-spirit spokesperson. She is a certified yoga and Pilates teacher and an award-winning author based in L...