Pilates in Lebanon- a report by Sandy Razzouk
The Pilates Method is a recent arrival in the Middle East, especially in Lebanon. Lebanon doesn’t have a sports culture. It is only since 2010 that people started to care about fitness. Like almost everywhere in the world, there are fitness clubs that have adopted the Method. Their programs are taught by non-certified instructors and are often confused with fitness classes focusing on the abdominal muscles. Pilates started to be known in Lebanon in 2012 when there was only one Pilates studio with a reformer apparatus (allegro 2), where I pioneered the approach. As there was only one reformer studio and the classes were expensive, Pilates was taken up by women of a certain age and place in society as a prestigious lifestyle. The Pilates studio was a place where women could socialize. After my studies with BASI, I left the reformer studio where I taught because it was far from being the true Pilates approach. I took responsibility for educating people about the Pilates approach through BASI’s method. So I taught Pilates in different renowned clubs with the objective of recruiting all kind of people regardless of their sex, social ranking, age and field of fitness. This is where I attracted men and women to Pilates from the 3 main regions in Lebanon. Being a fighter and an athlete also attracted bodybuilders, basketball players and other athletes who are now aware of the benefits of Pilates as a necessary complement to their workout. Even my fiancé who is self-defense trainer avoided an ankle injury thanks to the footwork in Pilates. Pilates is developing slowly in Lebanon especially since the fitness field is not in the Lebanese culture. There are only 4 to 5 certified instructors (from several Pilates schools). Fortunately, Pilates in Lebanon is moving from a socializing lifestyle for women to an essential holistic approach assisting different kinds of people in their everyday lives. In 2016, I opened my Pilates studio, Body Engineering Studio, which is the first BASI affiliate studio in the region where I am sharing my BASI approach with my beloved students.