What is Pilates
Pilates is a physical and spinal alignment technique designed to develop a strong, centred, muscularly balanced and flexible body with increased mental awareness.
The Pilates Technique
The pilates technique focuses on strengthening the body’s deep core muscles- abdominal, spinal and those surrounding each joint – allowing your limbs to move with fluidity and control. Exercises are performed on a mat or specially designed spring – loaded equipment to safely deliver optimal strength, flexibility and endurance while gently lengthening the muscles. Particular attention is drawn to the breath and precision of the movement so as to enhance form and efficiency with body.
Joseph H Pilates
The founder of the Pilates Method was Joseph H. Pilates. Born in Germany in 1881, a frail childhood inspired his keen interest in physical fitness regimens. He studied yoga, Zen meditation, martial arts and other exercise techniques and became an accomplished gymnast, diver and boxer.
In the 1920s he devised a unique sequence of movements that worked the mind and muscle in harmony. While interned in England during the First World War, he refined his technique for his fellow internees. While working as a hospital orderly, he used bed springs to offer light resistance exercises to patients, an idea which later evolved into the Pilates Cadillac or Trapeze Table.
In 1926, Joseph Pilates moved to New York and opened up the first Pilates studio (referred to as “Contrology” back then) along with his wife, Clara. Among his clients were dancers such as Martha Graham and George Balanchine, who appreciated how the exercise method created long, lean muscles without building bulk. Soon, some of his students (“disciples”) began opening studios of their own.
Joseph was an icon of fitness until he was 87, when complications from a fire took his life in 1967. However, his legacy lives on as the Pilates Method has become one of the most popular and respected exercise systems practiced around the world.
‘Physical fitness is the first pre-requisite of happiness’