German-born Joseph Pilates was the creator of a physical fitness system that initially was called “Contrology”.
In the early 20th century Joseph Pilates developed his method as a system of exercises to strengthen both body and mind. He believed that his method uses the mind to control the muscles. This holistic approach improves flexibility, builds strength and develops movement control improving posture and body awareness.
Joseph Pilates studied many forms of eastern and western exercise including gymnastics, body-building and yoga.
He dedicated his entire life to improve his own physical body as he suffered from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever when he was a child. Later on during World War I and whilst in a British internment camp Joseph Pilates used his knowledge of anatomy and all the exercise disciplines he had studied to develop his own method. He applied his exercise method while in camp training his fellows’ inmates and it is said that these inmates survived the 1918 flu pandemic due to their good physical shape.
Around 1925 Pilates migrated to United States where he opened his own studio and taught his method well into the 1960s. Joseph Pilates died at age 83 but his legacy lives through his disciples and the many schools that teach the Pilates Method. From the fitness industry to dance including ballet to musculoskeletal rehabilitation, almost everyone will benefit from Pilates exercises.
During a class you can experience the Six Principles of Pilates movement:
- Concentration – become more body aware and bring full attention to the exercise and the targeted muscle to maximise the result obtained from each movement.
- Control – each exercise is performed with utmost control. Movements are deliberated, slow and calm with complete muscular control.
- Centering – Focusing on the centre of the body, the powerhouse allowing each exercise to be initiated from your core.
- Precision – each exercise and each part of the body within the exercise has a specific purpose and has to be performed with accuracy.
- Breath – breathing is an intrinsic part of Pilates where a full lower ribcage breath is emphasised. Air is pumped in and out of the body and this awareness of the breath is promoted throughout each exercise. There is no breath without movement there is no movement without breath.
- Flow – each exercise flows into the next in a fluid manner keeping the energy that connects each body part to each movement.
“In 10 sessions you’ll feel the difference, in 20 sessions you’ll see the difference, and in 30 sessions you’ll have a whole new body”. Joseph Pilates