Who Is Mr. Pilates?
Joseph H. Pilates was born in Germany in 1880 and had many health issues as a young man. He overcame his illnesses and became quite the athlete – a gymnast, diver, and an avid skier. During WWI, Pilates was a nurse and had an ingenious idea to rig springs above hospital beds to help rehabilitate patients who were bedridden.
This bed-like equipment is closest to what we call the “Cadillac”. His original series of exercises was called the method of “Contrology” and only after he taught his method to a handful of the first generation of instructors was it referred to as “Pilates”. His studio was located on Eighth Avenue in Manhattan and in the 1940’s became very well known in the dance community. There were two parts to his studio. The front half was where the dancers would train and the back half was where Clara, his wife, would help with patients who needed rehabilitation.
The Pilates Method has been passed down through many more generations and has transformed in the process. Modern Pilates instructors now bring their creativity and knowledge to add to the original, while others still cling to the notion of “pure” classical Pilates. A Settlement in October of 2000 openly allowed instructors to use the word “Pilates” to describe their work and the fitness industry quickly exploded with Pilates classes and studios all across the world.
So, what is the Pilates Method?
The exercises are designed to strengthen, as what Pilates called, the “powerhouse” of the body. The “powerhouse” is the deepest muscles in the abdomen, inner thighs, buttocks, and lower back. The exercises emphasize concentration and control with the incorporation of flexibility, strength, precision, breath, flow of movement and awareness of the body.
main benefits of practicing Pilates
- Strengthens and tones muscles
- Improves posture
- Increases flexibility and balance
- Lengthens the Spine
*Photos courtesy of Balanced Body