June 2017

An Open Letter to the Pilates Method Alliance

After much deliberation, I have decided to let my Pilates Method Alliance certification lapse this June.

I support the Pilates Method Alliance's mission to set industry wide standards for Pilates instructors. I also support a third party certifying agency. I agree with the PMA that being pronounced "certified" by the Pilates school that received your tuition payment is not the same as being evaluated and certified by a professional organization that measures your knowledge against the industry standard. I have demonstrated my knowledge and passed your exam thus showing my support of your mission.  Unfortunately, maintaining my PMA credential doesn't measure up to my expectation of the credential on my business and professional growth.  I expected that potential clients would care about my PMA credential, but they don't. I've been teaching 17 years and I've built my client base and cast my net of influence through word of mouth because of my quality teaching.

I expected the PMA would support my personal growth, but the money I must spend on out of town, expensive CEC approved workshops diverts my resources away from valuable and regular, private lessons and classes at my local studios. Even the Pilates Method Alliance conference is costly with flights, accommodation, entrance fees, and missed work at home. The conference seems more commerce driven than an educational source for me anyway. I greatly benefit from visiting other studios when I travel outside of Minneapolis, observing and attending classes. I'd argue I've learned more as a regular student of Pilates than a participant in some CEC approved workshops I've attended. On the other hand, some workshops have been career altering, but that quality of workshop is rarely available in Minnesota. I think private sessions, classes, and observation at studios should be considered continuing education. Would you consider such an arrangement?

Finally, I expected a PMA credential would grow my business. It hasn't and now I can't envision it will for my type of business. I am the sole proprietor of a small studio that offers private lessons. I sometimes guest teach group classes at other studios. I like it that way, personal, and small enough for me to strive for excellent teaching. My client base is devoted and demand for my teaching has grown in the past 6 years I have been PMA certified, however, it is because of my expertise and reputation, not my PMA certification.


Jessica Cressey