About JOSEPH PILATES
Joseph H. Pilates was born in 1883 in Mönchengladbach, Germany. Pilates was a sickly child and suffered from asthma, rickets, and rheumatic fever, and he dedicated his entire life to improving his physical strength. Besides skiing frequently, he began studying body-building, yoga, qigong and gymnastics. Pilates came to believe that the "modern" life-style, bad posture, and inefficient breathing lay at the roots of poor health. He ultimately devised a series of exercises and training-techniques and engineered all the equipment, specifications, and tuning required to teach his methods properly.
Pilates was originally a gymnast, diver, and bodybuilder, but when he moved to England in 1912, he earned a living as a professional boxer, circus-performer, and self-defense trainer at police schools and Scotland Yard. It was in the internment camps during World War I, that Pilates created and developed his series of exercises which later became "Contrology". Joseph returned to Germany to collaborate with experts in dance and exercises while also training police officers. After being pressured to train the German army, Pilates emigrated to the US.
En route he met his wife Clara where they established and taught at their studio in NYC well into the 1960's. They practiced "Contrology" which encouraged the use of the mind to control muscles.
Pilates today focuses attention on core postural muscles that help keep the human body balanced and provide support for the spine. In particular, Pilates exercises teach awareness of breath and of alignment of the spine, and strengthen the deep torso and abdominal muscles.
Well known dancers such as Balanchine and Graham and their students became devout followers receiving training and rehabilitation. A number of Pilates students continued to teach variations and also preserve the original format. Joseph Pilates died in 1967 at the age of 83 in New York.
What Is Pilates?
Pilates is a system of over 500 controlled exercises that engage the mind and condition the total body. It is a balanced blend of strength and flexibility training that improves posture, reduces stress and creates long, lean muscles without bulking up. Pilates works several muscle groups simultaneously through smooth, continuous motion, with a particular concentration on strengthening and stabilizing the core, the abdomen, back and pelvic girdle region.
The focus is on quality of movement rather than quantity, which makes one feel invigorated rather than exhausted after a session. Pilates takes a balanced approach so that no muscle group is overworked and the body works as an efficient, holistic system in sports and daily activity. Pilates exercises can be performed on a mat or on specialized equipment such as a Reformer, Cadillac and Ladder Barrel.
What Are The Benefits Of Pilates?
With regular consistent Pilates workouts you can expect to:
- Tone and build long, lean muscles without bulk
- Challenge deep abdominal muscles to support the core
- Engage the mind and enhance body awareness
- Efficient patterns of movement making the body less prone to injury
- Reduce stress, relieve tension, boost energy
- Restore postural alignment
- Create a stronger, more flexible spine
- Promote recovery from strain or injury
- Increase joint range of motion
- Improve circulation
- Heighten neuromuscular coordination
- Offer relief from back pain and joint stress
- Correct over-training of muscle groups which can lead to stress and injury
- Enhance mobility, agility and stamina
- Compliment sports training and develop functional fitness for daily life activity
- Improve the way your body looks and feels