Joseph Pilates was born in 1880 in Dusseldorf, Germany. A frail and physically challenged child, suffering from asthma, rheumatic fever and rickets he turned to studying different exercise disciplines to overcome the effects of his poor health. These included weight training, dance, yoga, circus training, self defence, diving, skiing and gymnastics. Drawing from each of them, he formulated a series of exercises that worked for his own body. This became known as the Pilates method and the influences of each discipline can be seen in many of his exercises today.
After moving to New York in the 1920s, he set up a studio there which attracted athletes, dancers and actors finding that his exercises perfected and complemented their traditional exercise regimes. They found that the method catered for their individual needs – building strength without adding bulk, balancing strength with flexibility, preventing and treating injury, achieving the perfect harmony between mind and body. He continued to teach and refine his method until his death in 1967.
Joseph Pilates believed that our modern day living, bad posture and inefficient breathing were the roots of poor health. He also believed that in order to achieve happiness it is imperative to gain mastery of your body. If at the age of thirty you are stiff and out of shape, then you are “old”. If at sixty you are supply and strong, then you are “young”.
”It is the mind itself which builds the body" - Joseph Pilates