Welcome to Pilates
Joseph Pilates was a sickly child who dedicated his life to try to improve his physical strength. He came to believe that poor posture, bad breathing and modern lifestyle was the route of bad health - we can't really argue with that!
Pilates was originally a gymnast and bodybuilder, but when he moved to England in 1912, he earned a living as a professional boxer, a circus-performer, and a self-defense trainer at police schools and Scotland Yard. During World War I the British authorities interned him, along with other German citizens, in Lancaster Castle, where he taught wrestling and self-defence, boasting that his students would emerge stronger than they were before their internment. It was there that he began refining and teaching his minimal equipment system of mat exercises that later became "Contrology". He was then transferred to another internment camp at Knockaloe on the Isle of Man. During that involuntary break, he began to intensively develop his concept of an integrated, comprehensive system of physical exercise, which he himself called "Contrology". He studied yoga and the movements of animals and trained his fellow inmates in fitness and exercises.
After World War I, he returned to Germany and collaborated with important experts in dance and physical exercise such as Rudolf Laban. In Hamburg, he trained police officers. He emigrated to the United States around 1925. On the ship to America, he met his future wife Clara. The couple founded a studio in New York City and directly taught and supervised their students well into the 1960s. "Contrology", related to encouraging the use of the mind to control muscles, focusing attention on core postural muscles that help keep the 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.
It is modifications and adaptations of Pilates original exercises that we now use so successfully in class today. Working with people wanting to increase their range of movement, build core control, reduce pain and benefit from this whole body technique.