Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1883 and moved to England in 1912. During the outbreak of World War 1 as a German National he was interned at Lancaster and later at a camp on the Isle of Man. During this time he trained the other inmates in physical fitness and developed rehabilitation programmes for those injured.
After the War he moved to America and with his wife Clara opened up their first studio in 1916 in New York City. Their diverse clientele included socialites, gymnast, circus performers, actors and athletes but it was the dance community that embraced the new exercise programme.
Joseph Pilates was an extremely disciplined man who passionately believed in his system as a way of life. In his book Return to Life through Contrology, he writes:
Contrology develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind and elevates the spirit.
(Pilates was not called Pilates until after his death in 1967).
Pilates is a low impact non-aerobic exercise method, which strengthens the body and improves mobility, flexibility and posture. Using a unique system of 34 controlled movements, the body is retrained to work efficiently, and the spine is allowed to lengthen. Focusing on attention to detail means each move is carried out in correct alignment, promoting good posture and strengthening the muscles supporting the spine.
Pilates is widely used by people from all walks of life including top sportspeople and celebrities. It is also a fantastic rehabilitation tool for a range of conditions and injuries.
Above all Pilates gets us moving and leaves us feeling energised yet relaxed.