Modern Pilates has two main groups, classical Pilates vs. contemporary Pilates.
Classical Pilates sticks as closely as possible to Joseph Pilate’s original work. This means his original exercises and the order in which they were performed. There are slight variations according to different sources what the exact order or the exact way that certain exercises were intended to be performed and so there is contention about whose version is the “real” or the classical version. Another key feature of classical Pilates is the position of the pelvis in in the mat work. Classical Pilates will generally teach abdominal exercises in a “posterior tilt” meaning that, when laying on one’s back the lower spine is completely pressed into the floor, creating a tuck in the pelvis. Example: if there were a small flat board on the pelvis and a marble were placed in the center, the marble would roll towards the belly button.
Contemporary Pilates is based on the work of Mr. Pilates but has been modernized by adjusting the exercises to fit with modern research and has a heavy influence from physical therapy and bio-mechanics. Many exercises remain the same, but a whole new slew of exercises have been added, or variations have been added allowing for injury rehabilitation and creativity by the instructor. Contemporary Pilates will generally teach exercises in a “neutral pelvis” or the position one’s spine is in when standing upright in a healthy posture. When lying on one’s back the lower spine will have some space between the back and the floor, and the hip points and the pubic bone will all be in one plane. Example: if there were a small flat board on the pelvis and a marble were placed in the center, the marble would not roll in any direction.