What Is Pilates

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The Pilates Method is a unique system of stretching and strengthening exercises. Developed in the 1900’s by Joseph H Pilates it was designed to create a healthy body, a healthy mind and a healthy life.

Pilates strengthens and tones muscles, improves posture, provides flexibility and balance, unites body and mind and creates a more streamlined shape.The Pilates philosophy focuses on training the mind and body to work together towards the goal of overall fitness.

Step by step you can change the way you look, the way you feel and the way you move. Pilates can help to achieve a new body – reshaped, rebalanced, realigned, a body that is longer, leaner, more supple and yet with a hidden strength.

Pilates focuses on correct alignment and centering and movements are executed in a precise and controlled manner with no impact or pressure on the joints. This makes it suitable for all ages and all levels of fitness.


History Of Pilates

Joseph Hubertus Pilates 1880 – 1967

Joseph Pilates was born in Desseldorf in 1880. He was a frail sickly child who suffered from rickets, asthma and rheumatic fever. The threat of developing tuberculosis is said to have spurred him to work at improving his physical fitness, with such success that at the age of 14 he was posing as a model for anatomical drawings.

The only known facts about the first 32 years of his life are that he built up his body, and that he practiced gymnastics, skiing and diving. He is said to have worked in Great Britain from 1912 – 1914 as a circus performer, a boxer and a self defense instructor.

During the 1914 – 1918 war he was interned in England as a German National. With time on his hands he helped out at the camp infirmary and further developed his techniques, training his fellow internees with amazing success. Much of his knowledge of rehabilitation comes from this period.

At the end of the war he returned to Germany where he taught self defense to the Hamburg Police and German Army.

In 1926 he decided to emigrate to the United States of America. In the boat journey over he met his future wife Clara and when they realised that they shared the same views about fitness, they decided to set up a studio in New York. This attracted top ballet dancers, actors, gymnasts and athletes all anxious to learn from Pilates.

From these early beginnings Joseph Pilates went on to write several books on fitness. Through his writings and through his students, his system was passed on after his death in 1967.

Development Of The Pilates Method

The Pilates Method has now been taught for over 80 years, but it is only recently that the medical profession has really begun to look closely at why the system is so successful. Under the close scrutiny of the medical world we have had to re-examine our methods and study precisely why they work so well. This has been a great advantage to Pilates teachers as they have been able to absorb new ideas in Physiotherapy techniques and movement therapies to incorporate them into the Pilates Method without sacrificing its uniqueness. As a result Pilates continues to evolve.



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