Who is Joseph Pilates?
Born in Germany in 1880, Joseph H. Pilates was a sickly child, suffering from rickets, asthma and rheumatic fever. To overcome his ailments, he practiced gymnastics, diving, skiing and body building.
Joseph traveled to England in 1912 and was interned on the Isle of man during WW1 with other German nationals. This is where he began to practice his exercise method to help rehabilitate the sick and injured. It is a credit to him that no one in this camp succumbed to the influenza epidemic during this time.
Joseph was invited to train the German army on his return to Germany after the war. He decided to leave for America instead, and on the journey over, met Clara, who later became his wife. Joseph and Clara moved to New York, where they setup their Pilates Studio in 1926. Many people frequented the studio, including dancers, gymnasts, circus performers and the elite of society. Although it was the dance community that embraced his exercise method so openly. Understanding the impact that it had on their bodies.
Pilates developed over 600 exercises on the various equipment that he invented. These machines are still used today, with little changes. The machines use springs and pulleys to create resistance, stretching the body, while maintaining and encouraging a stable and aligned body.
What is Pilates?
Pilates (pronounced Pee-lah-tees) is a non-impact form of body conditioning that focuses on strengthening and balancing the muscles of the body, particularly the abdominals and back. It creates better posture and flexibility by correcting muscle imbalances. Pilates assists in injury prevention and is useful in injury rehabilitation.
The founder, German born Joseph H. Pilates, developed the Pilates Method in the 1920's to cater for those who required improved muscle balance, flexibility, co-ordination and recovery from injuries.
The Pilates Method encourages efficiency of movement by recruiting correct muscles groups. Some exercises and activities may strengthen some muscle groups, forming muscle bulk, while leaving other muscles undeveloped and tight. Pilates works to correct muscle imbalances by strengthening weak muscles and elongating the bulky muscles. The emphasis is placed on using the deep abdominal muscles to create a strong and stable spine.
The Pilates Method is not just exercise, it is a total mind and body experience. Joseph Pilates believed that your mind controls your muscles and directs your body through precise movements and functions. That is what the Pilates Method achieves. It is a series of controlled movements that engage the mind and body.