About Pilates

"All in all, we do not give our bodies the care that our well-being deserves."

("Return to Life Through Contrology" by Joseph Pilates)

 

 

Joseph Pilates 

As a child, Joseph was very sickly suffering from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever.  With the influence of home life, his father being an award-winning gymnast of Greek descent and his mother being a naturopath, Joseph set about a journey of self-improvement making his body strong, fit and healthy.  He was greatly influenced by nature and the natural laws of life. 

He exercised outdoors as much as possible with the belief that fresh air was good for the body and that the body would benefit from the absorption of vitamin D from natural sunlight.  He was born in Germany in 1886 and moved to New York in later life where he set up his own Pilates fitness studio, helped by his wife Clara. 

He loved life and was insistent that we should spend time doing things that leave us feeling cheerful, contented and relaxed.  He did not believe in over-taxing the body and treating the body as though it were a machine.  He nurtured the body and treated people as individuals. 

Health & Well-being

Helping people to attain good health was Joseph’s overriding mission in life.  He believed that it is our birth right to be healthy and that many of our ailments are derived from poor posture and lack of fitness.  He understood how the alignment of the spine impacts our well-being with poor spine alignment causing unnecessary stress on internal organs, blood vessels and nerves. 

To aid fitness, Joseph created an exercise system.  He didn’t believe that you had to spend lots of money joining a gym, nor spend lots of time exercising. 

In his book, Return to Life Through Contrology’, he says:

RETURN TO LIFE fully explains how you can successfully achieve your worthy ambition to attain physical fitness right in your own home and at nominal cost”. 

He suggested that just 10 minutes a day exercising was enough and that over time, you would increase this time willingly as you came to experience and enjoy the feeling fitness exudes.  However, he warned to do no more than 20 minutes and to follow his exercise instructions implicitly. 

Mindfulness

All those years ago, Joseph was only too aware of the need to have complete control of the mind as well as the body, and that it is the mind that can take us off course in our bid to make our body fit and healthy.  Also, by waking up thousands of otherwise dormant muscle cells, it is possible to wake up thousands of brain cells. 

Joseph knew only too well that to achieve any goal in life, there are certain attributes that we must possess.  He spoke about the need to be fully committed to the task, to be patient and persistent, determined and disciplined, that perseverance will overcome. 

The Pilates Legacy Continues

The floor exercise movements created by Joseph is the foundation of what, today, we call Mat Pilates and it is through this discipline that his exercise legacy continues with mat Pilates being the most familiar and universal of all the disciplines.  He also went on to build what is thought to be the first piece of gym equipment for the home as well as other machines that he used in his fitness studio.  Based on the floor exercises, he created a set of exercise movements for each of the machines he created. These machines are still used today in Pilates studios with the reformer machine possibly the most commonly used. 

A Philosophy 

Pilates isn’t just a form of exercise, a series of exercise movements.  It is a philosophy, Joseph’s philosophy, and one that will lead to health and well-being if it is adopted as a lifestyle. 

 

“He wanted to train the body so that every move you made was constructive exercise and believed that his exercise system should become a way of life: applying Pilates to everyday activities including sitting and walking.”

(Romana Kryzanowska - taken from an article on the IDEA Health and Fitness Association’s website,

‘Romana Kryzanowska: Pilates Living Legend’ by Rosalind Gray Davis.)


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"Pilates makes you think about your body in ways that other physical activities don't"