HISTORY OF PILATES
Joseph Hubertus Pilates was born in Germany in 1880. As a frail child, Pilates suffered
from rickets, rheumatic fever and severe asthma however used these conditions as
motivation to fuel his lifelong quest for optimum health and fitness. In his formative
years, Pilates apprenticed with a physician, studied anatomy and practiced both
Eastern and Western forms of exercise including yoga, martial arts, and Greco/Roman
In Germany, Pilates achieved success as a boxer, gymnast and circus performer and was
recognized for his athletic skills in skiing, diving, fencing and wrestling. At the outbreak
of WWI in 1914, Pilates was interned in a prison camp in England. Mr. Pilates used this
opportunity to help strengthen and train fellow internees and nurse them back to health.
It was during this period that Pilates began to devise his method called “Contrology,”
and created his first “bednasium,” a bed/exercise apparatus rigged with springs to help
rehabilitate the bedridden, (commonly know today as the “Cadillac”).
After WWI, Pilates returned to Germany briefly and was soon on his way to the United
States in 1926 as the political environment in Germany destabilized. Pilates opened his
private studio in New York City and worked with many renowned dancers including
George Balanchine, Martha Graham and Jerome Robbins, famous boxer Max Schmelling
and other notable socialites including the VanderBuilts.
Pilates died in 1967 at the age of 87 due to complications from a studio fire; however his
legacy of exercise lives on and continues to gain more recognition and popularity today.
Pilates himself declared that his work was “50 years ahead of his time.”
Joseph Pilates believed that “the acquirement and enjoyment of physical well-being,
mental calm and spiritual peace are priceless to their possessors…(and)…through
Contrology this unique trinity of body, mind and spirit can be attained.” The method is
intended to restore vitality, balance, natural movement and flow of energy.
BENEFITS OF PILATES
By practicing the Pilates method and exercising on the uniquely designed, low-impact
equipment that provides progressive resistance to the body’s movements, you will
experience these benefits plus much more!
Increased abdominal “core” strength
Relief from lower back pain
Improved balance and coordination
Deeper breathing capacity
Greater stamina in all activities