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The Pilates Method

Pilates is a series of movements developed in the late 1920′s by legendary physical trainer Joseph Pilates. Using a padded floor mat and specially designed equipment, Pilates created over 500 exercises that stretch, strengthen and tone muscles while eliminating tension from your joints, all without adding bulk.

By focusing on the quality of each movement, Pilates increases your ability to move with control and precision. Positive results include stronger abdominals, greater flexibility, improved posture, increased energy and longer, leaner muscles. Pilates also relieves chronic aches including lower pack pain and stiff necks. In short, Pilates allows you to be in control of your body, instead of at its mercy.

The History

Joseph Pilates was born near Dusseldorf, Germany in 1880. A sickly child suffering from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever, he was motivated at an early age to improve his condition. By the time he was 14, Joe had studied several disciplines of exercise, both Eastern and Western, and was modeling his exceptionally developed body for anatomy charts. He went on to become a gymnast, diver, boxer, bodybuilder and even a self-defense trainer at police schools and the Scotland Yard.

In 1914, Pilates toured England as a circus performer. With the onset of WWI, he was interned with other German nationals on the Isle of Man, where he took up teaching wrestling and self-defense. It was there that he began creating his method of original movements that would later be called Contrology.

In 1925 Pilates took a boat to America, meeting his future wife, Clara, on the way. They opened a gym at 939 Eighth Avenue in 1926, sharing a building with several dance studios and rehearsal halls. There, Joe became a friend and teacher to famous dancer/choreo-graphers George Balanchine, Martha Graham and others who realized the benefits of his work for their dancers and sent them to Joe for strengthening as well as for rehabilitation.

Pilates wrote several books sharing his method and also invented and patented a large number of Pilates apparatus. After his death in 1967 at the age of 83, the Pilates method has lived on through Clara, Pilates’ disciples, and a devoted worldwide following.