Who was Pilates?

History of Pilates

Plaque PilatesThe Pilates method was founded at the beginning of the 20th century by Joseph Hubertus Pilates. Pilates was born in Germany in 1883, he was a sickly child, suffering from different diseases such as rickets, asthma and rheumatic fever.

His drive to overcome these ailments drove him to study Eastern and Western forms of practice including boxing, bodybuilding, gymnastics, diving, yoga. 

yRz4F8bTj6sJfHQdSSvPw thumb a506In 1912 Pilates travelled to England as a circus performer together with his brother Fred. When World War I broke out he was interned in a camp on Isle of Men together with other German nationals.

While there he practiced and taught his physical fitness program and began devising apparatus to aid in the rehabilitation of the disabled and sick - and named his method "Contrology".

After the war Pilates returned to Germany. 1925 he was invited to train the new German army and he decided - recognizing the implications of this - to leave for America.On his way to America he met Clara his wife 

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and together they opened in 1926 the first Pilates Studio in New York which attracted diverse population including boxer, gymnastics, socialites and athletes.

Those who truly recognized the value of his method were the members of the dance community as they witnessed  its positive effects on dancers' bodies in rehabilitation and performance. 

Over the course of his career Pilates developed more than 600 exercises for the various pieces of apparatus he invented. Pilates was a man ahead of his time not only in his approach to well being, creation of exercises and invention of apparatus but also in terms of marketing of his method, he produced a film and wrote books.