Pilates Methods, Types and Today's Influential Teachers

Instructor and client working in a gym on equipment designed for pilates exercise routines.

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The Pilates method is an exercise system that is growing and changing at a rapid rate. As the popularity of Pilates increases, so does the number of teachers adding their own insights to the richness of Joseph Pilates' work. 

Influential Pilates Teachers Today

Here are brief profiles of some of the Pilates teachers that are among the most influential today.

Moira Merrithew and Stott Pilates

Moira Merrithew was a professional dancer when injuries prompted her to study the Pilates method with Pilates elder, Romana Kryzanawska. After two years of working with Kryzanawska , Merrithew and her husband, Lindsay G. Merrithew, co-founded Stott Pilates in 1988. They assembled a team of sports medicine and fitness experts to help them integrate modern principles of exercise science and spinal rehabilitation into the Stott Pilates program. Based in Canada, Stott Pilates is one of the leaders in contemporary Pilates.

You can find out more about their offerings at the Merrithew-Stott Pilates website. These include instructor training, events, symposiums, equipment, DVDs, mats, and accessories.

Mari Winsor and Winsor Pilates

Thanks to a very successful infomercial campaign, Winsor Pilates is one of the best-known names in Pilates.

Mari Winsor developed a workout style that she called "dynamic sequencing," which is meant to be a low-intensity body sculpting and calorie-burning workout. A dancer, teacher, author and personal trainer, Mari Winsor had two Pilates studios in the Los Angeles area and was known for her many celebrity clients. Videos such as the "Winsor Pilates Super Sculpting" DVD have continued her popularity.

Rael Isacowitz and Rael Pilates

With an extensive background in fitness science and Pilates, Rael Isacowitz is widely known as an international leader in "a contemporary and cutting-edge approach to the works of Joseph Pilates." Isacowitz is the author of "Pilates," a complete guide to mat work and apparatus exercises. Released in 2006, Isakowitz' book is already considered a classic, and it has been adopted as a training text by many Pilates instructor programs.

You can learn more in an in-depth interview with Rael Isacowitz. She covers her philosophy of the art, science, and passion for Pilates, her work as one of the instructors in the Passing the Torch Pilates mentor program, and how she developed the Avalon equipment.

Bob Liekens and Power Pilates

Bob Liekens, another former dancer, studied many years with Pilates Elder Romana Kryzanowska. Known as a "teachers' teacher," Liekens has devoted his teaching career to the traditional teachings of Joseph Pilates. He is currently the Director of Education for Power Pilates. His studio focuses on classic Pilates exercises with an emphasis on safety.

Ron Fletcher and Fletcher Work

Ron Fletcher was one of Joseph Pilates' original students. He was also a dancer in the Martha Graham dance company. He studied extensively with Clara Pilates and went on to evolve his own style of Pilates, Fletcher work.

Expanding on the breath work that Joseph Pilates encouraged, Fletcher has developed structured breathing patterns that he calls percussive breathing. The Fletcher Towel Work and Fletcher Floor Work are also unique to the Fletcher Work system.

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