The story of Joseph PILATES
Joseph Hubertus Pilates was born in Germany in 1880. As a child, he was thin and asthmatic, and lacked the strength to fight back when bullied. These circumstances were instrumental in his decision to begin a lifelong search for the ultimate way to restore health through fitness.
By the time he reached his lates teenage years, he had already developed an impressive physique and was modeling for anatomy charts. Successful at boxing and gymnastics, he moved to England in 1912 to pursue his training and even ended up working in a circus.
During the First World War, he was interned in a camp with other German nationals, where he taught wrestling and self-defense. This led him to create his own system of exercises, which later became known as Contrology. At another camp, he worked with fellow interns suffering from wartime diseases. This inspired him to put together equipment using readily available materials such as bedsprings, which he turned into exercise apparatus to help rehabilitate those who were bedridden. This creativity gave rise to some of the equipment used in today's Pilates studios, such as the Reformer, the Cadillac and the Wunda Chair.
After the war, Pilates returned to Germany and trained the Hamburg Military Police in self-defense. At age 45, he moved to the United States, where he met his second wife, Clara. Together, they opened the first Pilates studio in a neighborhood that happened to be filled with dance studios. Many of the dancers gradually made their way to Pilates for rehabiliation work, cementing the beginnings of his reputation throughout New York and nationwide.
Since the 1980's, the Pilates method has come to set the standard for many in the fitness world as one of the most comprehensive exercise systems available. Pilates himself was a great believer in balancing the mind, body and spirit. Believing that modern lifestyle was in many ways detrimental to health and posture, he developed a system of physical exercises that would correct muscular imbalance, improve breathing and enhance overall health.
The Pilates method now comprises over 500 exercises that may be done on a mat or on one of the many pieces of apparatus that Joseph Pilates invented.