A little Pilates BACKground

Updated: Jul 10, 2020

Did you know?

Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1883. He was a frail child suffering from asthma, rickets, and rheumatic fever.

Overcoming these challenges is what drove him to become a competitive athlete and learn about the human body so extensively at an early age.

In 1912 Pilates worked as a circus performer, boxer, and self-defense instructor in England.

It was during World War 1 when he was in an internment camp that he developed his technique of physical fitness teaching fellow German nationals in the camp.

One of his main focuses was proper breathing and exhalation to expel stale air from the lungs.

Pilates termed his teachings “Contrology” with the main principles of Breath, Concentration, Centering, Control, Precision, and Flow.

Later in the war he served as an orderly in a hospital on the Isle of Man working with disabled patients.

To support movement in these patients he attached springs to the beds to support areas of their bodies. This is where Pilates equipment began, and variations of these developments are what we use today in our Pilates practice.

A reformer, the equipment that we are thankful to have in our clinic, allows us to focus on engaging specific muscles in our bodies by assisting others. This is also why proper utilization and instruction with this equipment can be so vital to overcoming injuries and staying active while we do so.

Joseph Pilates instructing a student on the Cadillac. ©2001 IC Rapoport

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