What is Pilates
The Pilates method is not a new age phenomenon but has been around for more than 90 years. Its founder Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1880 and as a child suffered ill health from illnesses that included rickets and rheumatic fever. As a teenager he had managed to overcome his childhood illnesses and by adulthood had devised an exercise programme to assist restoring his own body back to optimal health. Through the transformation of his body and the influence of new health and fitness ideas that were current at this time in Germany , Joseph Pilates devised his method and beliefs and adopted the philosophy base on that of the Greeks , embodied in Latin saying ‘mens sana in corpore sano ~ ( a sound mind in a healthy body )
Joseph came to England in 1912, but when war broke out he was interned on the Isle of Man, where he is reputed to have become a nurse and carried on developing his method with other internees. After the war he moved to New York and set up a studio along with his wife Cara, a former nurse. Their success in aiding those who were weak or injured soon spread and his techniques and method attracted especially those from the performing arts and medicine. Joseph Pilates wanted his method to be available to everyone and published his own book, ‘Return to Life Through Contrology’- now known as the Pilates Method.
The Pilates Method is a unique form of mental and physical conditioning and is certainly more than just a workout. Joseph Pilates observed through his teachings that when there was a weak or misaligned area in the body a person tended to overcompensate or overdevelop another area. Therefore his view was that it is as important to not only correct the misalignment but also to re-educate the body so that injuries didn’t repeat themselves. To do this he developed a system of well-designed choreographed movements to be performed in a balanced, controlled and flowing way primarily to strengthen, support and realign the body. Each exercise developed to be executed mindfully with the emphasis on quality not quantity. His complete mat based Pilates method works every muscle group with special attention to the muscles which stabilise the joints and produce correct body mechanics. Mat based Pilates brings both the mind and body together embracing all his principles and enabling core strength, flexibility, balance and above all a sense of wellbeing to be achieved by means of a lifestyle that is both positive and progressive.
"The mind when housed within a healthy body possesses a glorious sense of power."