Brief History of Joseph Pilates

Joseph Pilates was born 1880 in Germany since childhood he suffered from rickets, rheumatic fever and asthma.

His determination to strengthen his health and fitness led him to a life which he dedicated to educating the body and mind to become stronger. Joseph developed his exercises drawn from many different influences such as Yoga, self defence, boxing, skiing and gymnastics.

Whilst working in England as a circus performer and boxer, he was placed in forced internment at the outbreak of WWI. At the internment camp, he worked to rehabilitate the sick and wounded in a prison camp on the Isle of Man. There he began building equipment using springs, mattresses and his creativity developing at the same time the exercises that have become what we now know as the Pilates. His exercises are drawn from many different influences such as Yoga, self-defence, body building, boxing, skiing and gymnastics.

When Pilates moved to NYC in 1926 he began to work with dancers, to rehabilitate them from injuries and to prevent them. He envisioned his exercise method as one for every man, woman, and child and hoped for the day that his equipment would be found in every home, school, and hospital.
Joseph Pilates created "mat exercises", especially for people who had great difficulty in moving or standing. He also developed specialised equipment such as universal reformer, wunda chair, arm chair, tower, cadillac, barrel. The equipment uses springs to both assist and resist movement.


Joseph Pilates coined the term "contrology". He was greatly influenced by the early Greeks, and emphasised their coordination and balance of body and mind for good health. Joseph Pilates outlined that a combination of a diet; individual's occupation, frequency of exercise and sleeping among other factors will promote a healthy lifestyle.

(in his 1934 book entitled Your Health Joseph Pilates wrote):

"It is the conscious control of all muscular movements of the body. It is the correct utilization and application of the leverage principles afforded by the bones comprising the skeletal framework of the body, a complete knowledge of the mechanism of the body, and a full understanding of the principles of equilibrium and gravity as applied to the movements of the body in motion, at rest and in sleep"

In 10 sessions you will feel the difference, in 20 you will see the difference, and in 30 you will have a whole new body.
Joseph Pilates

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