History of Pilates

JOSEPH H. PILATES (1880 – 1967)

While Pilates was founded in the 1st half of the last century it is and always will be a relevant, beneficial method of exercise that grows in popularity daily.

In the beginning

Joseph Hubertus Pilates founded the Pilates Method of Body Conditioning first for his own rehabilitation as a sickly child growing up in Germany. As a teenager, imagining his future being wheelchair-bound, he turned his focus to the study of anatomy, physiology and the fundamentals of eastern medicine. Pilates created rustic equipment and developed exercises on his this equipment, dedicating his entire life to becoming physically stronger. It worked and later he became a gymnast and a diver.

Rehabilitation station

He went on to design a more comprehensive method of exercise that would assist bed ridden soldiers in England to regain their strength. When he moved to New York City in the 1920’s he opened a studio for the maintenance & rehabilitation for professional dancers. Today Pilates is known for its use by ballet/professional dancers. As part of the Pilates Method he developed around 500 exercises that helped him as well as his followers to live a longer and healthier life.

Just breathe

We often forget to breathe. Joseph Pilates once said that if you don’t get anything right, get the breathing right. We often forget the simple act of giving the body what it really needs, a good healthy dose of fresh air. In Pilates along with focusing on strengthening our core muscles, it is vital that we breathe. We direct the breathing towards the bottom and back of the ribs; it’s a lateral kind of breathing. Breath can be used to directly manipulate stressful responses in the body by causing a direct stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system. This results in relaxation and our bodies know to do this naturally when we take a deep breath or sigh when a stress is relieved. It is often the most simple actions that have the biggest impact

Pilates is as relevant today as it was when a young Joseph Pilates developed it and will continue to be one of the fastest growing forms of exercise in the world.

[frame align=”none”]“I must be right. Never an aspirin. Never injured a day in my life… The whole world should be doing my exercises. They’d be happier.” Joseph H Pilates at the age of 86[/frame]