"I must be right. Never an aspirin. Never injured a day in my life. The whole country, the whole world, should be doing my exercises. They’d be happier.” ~ Joseph Pilates
HISTORY OF JOSEPH PILATES
Joseph Pilates was born in Germany the late 1800’s. He was a sickly child determined to improve his own health. He began exploring ways to strengthen his body and mind. In pursuit of his goal, he participated in boxing, fencing, wrestling, and gymnastics, as well as studying yoga and zen meditation.
On a boxing tour in England at the start of World War 1, Joe was held as a resident alien in an internment camp. While in the camp, he started a training program working with his fellow detainees. Shortly thereafter, his work brought him to the attention of the camp leaders, and he was assigned as a hospital orderly to help patients rehabilitate. He worked with his group of thirty patients daily, assisting them to focus on even the smallest movements, thereby helping them to work their bodies back into better health and recovery. After the war ended, he immigrated to the United States, and continued to develop and refine his “Contrology” teaching format. He worked with clients from all walks of life, but made an especially strong impression on the dance community.
Always evolving, he invented customized training equipment out of practical items available at the time. The Universal Reformer, Ladder Barrel, Magic Circle, Cadillac, Spine Corrector and Wunda Chair were all created during this period to address the specific needs of individual clients. Many of Joe’s original machines are still working today. He dreamed of introducing his vision of mind-body fitness into every aspect of life, from elementary schools to the military. Unfortunately, this dream was not achieved in his lifetime, however, his legacy has lived on through his dedicated devotees and trained instructors.
The teaching of Joseph Pilates continues today with what we now call only “Pilates”. The practice of Pilates enables all individuals - dancers, athletes, rehab patients and individuals just like you to become and remain stronger, healthier and more connected to their bodies.