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Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1880.  A former boxer, circus performer, self-defence trainer and World War 1 POW, he developed into what can only be described as a fitness visionary.  After decades of research, in 1926 he introduced to New York City a method of body conditioning unlike anything health and physical fitness enthusiasts had ever seen. 

Instead of focusing on repetitive weight bearing movements, Pilates developed a series of specialised exercises to build strength, control and flexibility.  He also designed and developed a series of specialised machines to perform these exercises on. Many of his exercises can be performed on a mat alone.  Joseph Pilates taught his method of ‘Contrology’ until 1967, when he died at the age of 86.

Today, the Pilates method has a global following due to the unrivalled results achieved with the method.

In recent years this is more commonly referred to as Romana’s Pilates Instructor Certification and is regarded as the highest quality instructor training programme in the industry. 

Romana Kryzanowska worked closely with Joseph Pilates for many years until his death.  She preserved the Pilates legacy by travelling the world for six decades educating the next generation of Pilates instructors.  The certification programme is comprehensive and involves several hundred hours of theory, observation, practical and written exams.


Romana’s Pilates instructors will teach you much more than just the mat - every student must successfully pass performance assessments on all the key pieces of Pilates equipment. When you are working with a Romana’s Pilates instructor you can be confident you’re getting quality and experience, and not an instructor who achieved certification over a weekend or using a fast tracked approach. Romana’s Pilates instructors will design you a complete workout tailored to your needs and ability.

Romana’s certification programme involves 700 hours; our studio is approved to take an apprentice up to their first 400 hours of observation and assisting certified teachers. Apprentices then need to complete their certification in Auckland or overseas. There are very few certified instructors in New Zealand – at Authentic Pilates Gisborne, we are fortunate to have three. 

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