Because Joseph Pilates never created a teacher training system, Pilates has morphed according to different styles created by teachers.
"The first generation teachers, and everyone else, have their own take on the work, and have invented their own exercises using the Pilates principles and equipment," Russell, also a second generation Pilates instructor (her teacher was taught by Joseph Pilates himself), tells SpaFinder.
Because of this evolution in styles, there is classic Pilates and evolved Pilates.
Classic or Classical Pilates
This style of Pilates closely follows Joseph Pilates' original system and teaching style; no-nonsense, fast-paced and intense. This style is good for practitioners who like to sweat, like a challenge, and are generally in good shape with no injuries, Russell explains. Romana's Pilates and Power Pilates are two examples of this style.
Classic Pilates isn't easy, and because not everyone can get there right away, and as our understanding of the body has evolved, teachers have modified the classic exercises to be more accessible. In evolved Pilates, the pace is generally slower and with a greater emphasis on form and efficient movement. This style is well-suited for those with specific issues, such as injuries.
There are countless styles as each instructor and studio is different, but in most studios, a combination of the two styles will be found as teachers design workouts following the method, but alter them to cater to the specific needs of the class or client.