As Karin touched upon above, the fact that Pilates is not trademarked or regulated legally, allows for the widespread use of the name to promote anything an everything. The risk with fusion classes is that the Pilates technique is not well established or rushed through – or a fusion class intended for intermediate/advanced students is full of beginners who know nothing about Pilates technique….which can lead to injury much more easily. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met who have said, “PILATES!? NO WAY!! PILATES TOTALLY BROKE MY BACK!”. So, based on a poor first experience with Pilates in Fusion-type classes (one’s first experience with pilates would ideally be in a class that concentrates on teaching the technique, moving on only as students begin to grasp the method) the client’s idea of what Pilates is is totally scarred. It’s when I’m able to convince one of these people to come and try a class with me that they have a Eureka moment and say, “So THIS is Pilates?”.
I like the idea of Fusion and I’m all for creativity, but it’s a shame when instructors are so fixed on creating something fast & furious for clients instead of maintaing the integrity in what they are teaching (I’ve had similar experiences with yoga).
But until there is any official regulation – Pilates will be whatever anyone wants to sell it as!
I was just having this discussion with another Personal Trainer about the +/- of fusion classes. I’ve been teaching Pilates for almost 6 years and recently began a yoga teacher training program. He asked me if I’d teach yogilates classes or some such hybrid. My initial response was “no.” In the hybrid classes I’ve taken one discipline has always felt shortchanged and not been taught very well. Yet as I believe was already mentioned, we all teach based on our experiences, training, mood, so in some ways I’ve been teaching hybrid classes ever since I added the NASM certification to my PMA certification. I just can’t imagine teaching classes with catchy compound names. *smile*
I think many of us have thought about that same thing. Sometimes you go to a fusion type class and you find yourself wondering, “Where’s the pilates?” On a personal level, I love taking pilates and yoga classes that follow closely in the original tradition of the discipline. There is something about moving in the way that was set down by the original teacher, that grounds me and makes me feel connected to that teacher, their creativity, and the brilliance of their discipline. B.K.S. Iyengar, and his yoga method, is another example of a long standing tradition that sometimes gets watered down in current classes, but really resonates with me.
That being said, over the years I have come to relax a bit in my teaching approach and see the benefit of offering classes that may have a wider appeal, get more people jazzed about working out and keep things fun and interesting (as long as it’s safe, of course). How can you argue with anything that gets people to feel good and live a healthier life?
As a teacher, I follow the path that feels right for me. I like to stay true to some things, but when I sense that my class or clients might need a bit of a change up, I am not afraid of venturing out and offering them a little variety.