Joseph Pilates, born in Germany in 1880, was a sickly child, suffering from rickets and rheumatic fever. To combat the effects of these ailments, he studied human anatomy and movement and rehabilitated himself to remarkable health and fitness. He went on to become a boxer, circus performer and self defense trainer.
During World War I, he worked as a nurse in an internment hospital in Lancaster, England, where he developed exercises using the bed springs to rehabilitate his patients.
Following the war, he returned to Germany and continued to develop his fitness training programs with the German army. In 1926, he decided to emigrate to the United States. He met his future wife Clara and together, they established the first Pilates studio in New York City. He attracted the attention of several major dance companies, including Martha Graham and George Balanchine, who sent many of their dancers to Pilates to rehabilitate from their injuries.
Joe continued to develop his method throughout his lifetime. He lived to the age of 87, a fitting tribute to the effectiveness of his training methods and fitness exercises and beliefs.
If you are interested in learning more about the life and philosophy of Joseph Pilates, please read "Your Health", published in 1934 and "Return to Life through Contrology" published in 1945, both written by Joseph H. Pilates.
The goal of Contrology (Pilates Method) according Pilates itself is "the attainment and maintenance of a uniformly developed body with a sound mind and the ability to perform life's daily activities with zest and ease." – Joseph H. Pilates
Pilates is a system of comprehensive fitness where the body works as a whole, emphasizing the deeper musculature.
It works especially what is called "powerhouse" consisting of the abs, the base of the back and buttocks. Strengthening these body parts is agility movements and improve posture by creating a natural brace for back.
Main benefits of practicing Pilates:
• Improves muscle tone by strengthening and toning the entire body.
• Increases flexibility, agility, sense of balance and improves coordination of movements.
• Improves postural alignment and corrects incorrect postural habits.
• Allows you to prevent and recover from injuries of the musculoskeletal system.
• By breathing and concentration is achieved a state of overall relaxation thereby permitting eliminate stress, muscle tension and stiffness states.