Joseph Pilates, was the innovator and creator of “Pilates.” If he were alive today, we hope he would be pleased to know that he made an impact in so many people’s lives… and continues to do so. In reading and listening to stories about him, we can only feel and appreciate his spirit around us. With his spirit and the spirit of all those enthusiastic about what he created, we are inspired to help connect all of you to one another to keep evolving and growing Pilates!
Joseph Pilates is the man responsible for the exercise phenomenon named after him and wrote two books in 1934 and 1945 illustrating society’s need for a sound mind and a sound body. He revolutionized fitness, wellness and exercise for the rest of time by helping us exercise and have goood posture when we are long done working out our body.
Pilates basically says on the topic of balance between the mind and the body that, you need both a sharp mind and fit body and that having just one or the other is not sufficient. Pilates is showing that both the mind and the body are needed to achieve the desired results with the minimum amount of mental or physical energy. However, he is also saying that the combination of the mind and body help us, “to live as long as possible in normal health and enjoy the benefits of a useful and happy life” (Pilates, 135).
One important tenant to Pilates’ teaching is that of breathing.
“It is wholly insufficient to tell the individual to inhale and to exhale,” Pilates says. “To learn to breathe properly is really more difficult an accomplishment than the average (uninformed) person realizes. Moreover, there are comparatively few teachers who understand the art of correct breathing and who are capable of instructing others in the art” (Pilates, 136).
That is what Pilates instructors are for. They are able to help someone to perform the exercises and to instruct the client in how to breathe during exertion and otherwise.
A lot of the time many of us exercise mindlessly just so that we feel that we are taking care of our bodies. Pilates says that that is, “an utter waste of time and effort” (Pilates, 136). He goes on to say that, “Such exercising leads to false conceptions and conclusions in adult life highly detrimental to the ultimate welfare of the grown-up child” (Pilates, 136). We don’t want to exercise without a purpose otherwise we are wasting our time; we need to use our bodies in exercises with controlled movements, along with a proper breathing technique so that the exercises are useful and helpful to our overall well-being.
Pilates refers to his exercise program as Contrology in his first book called, Return to Life through Contrology. In the book, Pilates outlines and illustrates 34 exercises that will allow you to move easier and without any problems.
Pilates, who lived from 1883 to 1967, was very fit throughout his life, even during his later years. Since he was a German living in England, Pilates was put into a forced internment camp when World War I began. While imprisoned, he helped other prisoners heal from diseases and injuries using implements that he had around him including bed springs and beer keg rings which have now turned into the reformer and magic circle used today by contemporary practitioners of Pilates.
On his way to New York to teach his new exercise program, Pilates met a nurse named Clara, who would later become his wife that would help him teach his method even after his death. Practitioners directly following in Pilate’s footsteps are known as Pilates Elders, who either followed his teaching directly or slightly adapted and changed it to go with new scientific discoveries. Now, Pilates is a worldwide method for getting the human body into shape so that it can be used efficiently and effectively for the health and happiness of the user.
Pilates’ Return to Life Through Contrology
(originally published in 1945 by Joseph H. Pilates and John Miller)
(originally published in 1934 by Joseph H. Pilates)