Pilates is a modern system of body maintenance named after its inventor Joseph H Pilates. He defined it as the "complete coordination of body, mind and spirit". It is in this respect that it differs from other modern forms of physical exercise such as aerobics as it aims to be holistic in its approach.
As a child, Pilates suffered from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever, and it was these childhood illnesses that drove him to discover a method of overcoming them. He focused on sports as one way of building physical strength, and became a skilled gymnast and talented skier as well as a boxer and wrestler. At the same time he became passionately interested in human physiology, especially the musculature of the body. He studied this alongside forms of exercise from the East such as Yoga. It was the combination of all of these interests that led him to devise what is now known as Pilates, but which he originally called Contrology.
As a German National living in England, he was interned during WW1. Whilst confined in prison camp he devised exercises to keep himself and his fellow internees healthy. He later claimed that these exercises helped to protect the internees from the flu epidemic of 1918 that killed thousands in Britain alone, and from other illnesses that often resulted from living in confined and crowded prison conditions.
On moving to New York, he opened a physical fitness studio with his wife Clara, a nurse. He developed a philosophy of physical fitness that has something to offer everyone, regardless of age and physical ability, particularly those who like strength and tone without building huge muscles.
Fundamental to Pilates' philosophy was the idea that our modern lifestyle, economic pressures and environmental pollution caused physical and mental stress leading to related illnesses. His theories were ahead of their time, and have now been widely proved.
In order to respond naturally to life and the stresses it involves, Pilates recognised that we need to be physically and mentally fit. Trauma and stress are less likely to affect people who feel well in mind and body and are aware of what they can do to offset the negative effects of stress.
I take an holistic approach to combine training of the mind and the entire body to achieve correct posture, promote prevention & faster recovery from injury and improve confidence & concentration.
The key principles are: