What is Contemporary Pilates?

The acquirement and enjoyment of physical well-being, mental calm, and spiritual peace are priceless to their possessors...
— Joseph Pilates

Over the past decade or two, Pilates has become much more mainstream and accessible to people from many walks of life. As its popularity skyrocketed, so did the demand for teachers. Many teacher trainings developed, but with no organization to control how the Method is taught (since Pilates left no will or instruction), all sorts of variations of the technique have developed. This has lead to a (sometimes contentious) split in the field: 

Classical Pilates

Classical instructors teach Pilates as it was passed down from Joseph himself. Their repertoire includes a specific set of exercises, and often they can trace their training lineage directly to former pupils of Pilates himself. They tend to be purists and often believe that a deviation from the original choreography is not Pilates.

Contemporary Pilates

Contemporary Pilates instructors learn the Classical repertoire, but have more freedom to expand upon the original choreography. Contemporary Pilates focuses on functionality as opposed to choreography, and infuses training with principals from Physiotherapy and Western Medicine. A good and conscientious Contemporary instructor customizes Pilates principles to students' needs, whether that means making an exercise simpler, more challenging, or modifying it completely for specific physical conditions such as injury, pregnancy, or structural deviations like Scoliosis and leg length discrepancy.

Of course, we can't know what Joseph Pilates would have wanted, or how his teaching would have developed had he been around to see the infusion of sports medicine information into athletic practices over the last few decades. But considering how much of a true innovator Pilates was, the Contemporary school of thought is that he would have expanded his technique to benefit from modern developments. Holistic Pilates champions this approach.