What is Pilates?MTMeditingbuttons2a1a1

The History of PilatesMTMeditingbuttons2a1a1


The History of Pilates

Joseph Pilates, 1881 - 1967

Born near Dusseldorf, Germany, Joseph Pilates suffered from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever as a child. His determination and drive to overcome those ailments led to the study of both Eastern and Western forms of exercise: yoga, zen, ancient Grecian and Roman regimens. He took them one step further by combining engineering skills with his knowledge of exercise and anatomy, to design apparatus geared specifically to his philosophy. Joseph Pilates brought his revolutionary method of physical and mental conditioning to the United States in the early 1920's. His studio in New York City caught the attention of the dance community and his method became an integral part of dance training. Dance legends such as Ruth St. Denis, Ted Shawn, Martha Graham, George Balanchine, Hanya Holm and Jerome Robbins have all practiced this work.

Pilates felt that his work was probably about fifty years ahead of its time, and although his method is not yet a household word, people from all walks of life are discovering and choosing his technique as their fitness program. Hospitals and physical therapy centers worldwide are using it to rehabilitate injured athletes and dancers. Many athletes, even football players, now incorporate this method into their training. Fitness studios are teaching Pilates' method to an increasing number of ordinary people who are tired of the "pumping iron" atmosphere of conventional gyms and aerobic dancing studios.


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Pilates focuses on strengthening the “powerhouse” muscles in an individual’s abdomen, lower back, and buttocks, which then provides them with a strong base for other physical activities.  Pilates builds strength from “the inside out”, while improving posture, breathing, and many internal system functions.  


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