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About Pilates - Joseph Pilates

Joseph Pilates

Pilates is an exercise method devised by Joseph Pilates, who was born in Germany in 1880. He is reported to have suffered from several childhood diseases – rheumatic fever, asthma, rickets  - which left him physically underdeveloped and sickly. During the early nineteenth century an awareness of the importance of exercise to health was growing in Germany, and Pilates embraced this to transform his body and, as a result, he  began to develop his own method of exercise, which he called Contrology, and which took inspiration from many sources – yoga, martial arts, boxing, ballet. He believed there was a clear connection between poor posture, sedentary lifestyle and ill health.

Pilates moved to New York with his wife Clara in 1923 and together they set up a studio. His approach attracted people from the performing arts and sports and he was soon taking on apprentices in order to spread his method internationally. He wanted his exercises to benefit everyone regardless of their level of fitness.

"Contrology (Pilates) is designed to give you suppleness, natural grace and skill that will be unmistakably reflected in the way you walk, in the way you play, and in the way you work."
Joseph Pilates

The Method

Pilates addresses the body as a whole and aims to bring it into balance by allowing the muscles and joints to come into equilibrium, correcting asymmetries and preventing re-injury. The method lengthens the spine, increases flexibility and strength and balance, and improves co-ordination. The exercises are done to specific breathing patterns which aid the movements and help concentration and also promote relaxation and the release of tension. Pilates uses few repetitions of each exercise but encourages a flow of movement throughout the class.

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