“Physical Fitness is the first requisite for happiness” J.H. Pilates
Originally called “Contrology”, the Pilates Method is a physical conditioning program. Born in 1883 in Moenchengladbach, Germany, its founder Joseph Pilates was influenced by the classical Greek ideal of a man balanced in body, mind and spirit and developed his fitness regime in the early 1900’s to improve strength, flexibility, mobility, overall health and a sense of well being.
He had studied various exercise regimes and armed with this huge knowledge began to develop his own exercise system initially to help cure himself from various childhood ailments and then to continue to train his body. In 1912 Joseph moved to England to work as a self defense instructor for the police. When at the outbreak of WW1 he was interned as an “enemy alien” with other German Nationals he continued to refine his ideas and trained other internees in his system of exercise. After a brief period back in his native Germany where his method started to find success with dancers, Joseph Pilates decided in 1926 to emigrate to New York. With his new wife Clara whom he had met on the voyage across, he opened their body conditioning studio in the same building as the New York City Ballet, close to Martha Graham and George Balanchine’s studios and Broadway. Dancers, performers and professional athletes then and now love the Pilates method as a way to cross train their body, building strong yet lean muscles, improve their flexibility, core and stamina, but also as a way to rehabilitate acute and overuse injuries.
Over 12 million people are practising Pilates these days.
Central to the method are its ABC’s: alignment, breathing and centring.
It is through this focus on lengthening, proper alignment, standing tall with good posture, precision of movement and the “ breath as your drumbeat” (Ron Fletcher) that progressively more complex and dynamic Pilates exercise sequences help you develop a great core. You build flexibility, strength and stamina in your whole body.
Bringing your body and mind together will not only allow you to concentrate on HOW to move but also on how YOUR BODY moves. You stay in control of your body which in turn allows you to handle stress more effectively, breathe better and deeper, lower your blood pressure and overall stay more calm and relaxed and healthier in our every day lives.
Mat work is a series of progressive exercises focusing on deep core muscles, strength and flexibility. Exercises can be done at home without any specialized equipment as the exercises use the strength and resistance of your own body.
Pilates Apparatus work uses specialized equipment. There are more than 500 resistance exercises which help to deepen your body awareness, and systematically and efficiently strengthen your whole body. It is beneficial for rehabilitation, injury prevention, postural alignment and overall fitness.