Pilates History

Joseph Pilates

Developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 1900s, the Pilates method originated as a precise series of exercises focused on core strengthening with spinal and limb stretching. Joseph Pilates analytically coordinated these exercises, originally termed Contrology, with a fundamental knowledge of the biomechanical aspects of the body in order to restore physical fitness and health. Joseph Pilates’ program was based on these six fundamental principles:

  • Breathing: taking full deep breaths
  • Centering: directing mental and physical focus to the core
  • Concentration: focusing full attention on the exercise
  • Control: using one’s mind to manage each separate muscle movement
  • Flow: performing exercises with fluidity, connecting body parts smoothly
  • Precision: maintaining conscious awareness of proper alignment

This series of mat exercises was intended for a diverse population from deconditioned people to fitness enthusiasts. During World War I, Joseph Pilates applied his method of the Contrology floor exercises to provide physical rehabilitation for bedridden patients suffering from disease and war-related injury. Joseph Pilates removed springs from hospital beds and rigged them so patients could perform exercises with the added resistance of the springs, a precursor to his later sophisticated Pilates apparatus designs.

Pilates Benefits

Pilates restores balance to the body.

Daily life and work affect the physical body. Bad habits result in poor posture, neglect of intrinsic muscles, repetitive misuse, and pain. Mental stress and tension affect energy levels with increased fatigue and decreased vitality for daily life.

With a committed practice, Pilates will promote uniform development of the body, incorporating all muscles in the versatile program of exercises. The development of minor muscles supports major muscles, facilitating strength and flexibility of the spine and limbs. As a result, posture will be corrected, alleviating back pain and improving balance. Overall physical conditioning will increase muscle power and activity endurance. Pilates will promote rehabilitation post-injury and prevent future injuries. Through proper breathing techniques, lung capacity and blood circulation will increase, reducing fatigue.

Pilates demands attention and focus in order to perform exercises correctly, creating a strong mind and body connection. Developing this connection will clarify, balance, and calm the mind, enabling increased energy for desired activities.

With committed and consistent practice, the Pilates method will restore and invigorate your body, mind, and spirit. You will develop strength, grace, balance, poise and self-confidence. These benefits will enrich your work and recreation, bringing balance and harmony to your daily life.

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