Pilates is a celebrated system of body conditioning that strengthens and tones muscles, improves posture, provides flexibility and balance, unites mind and body,  and creates a more streamlined shape.

Pilates uses an educational and exercise approach with attention to proper body mechanics, movements, core strength, pelvic stabilization, coordinated breathing, and muscle contractions to promote strengthening and lengthening.

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What is Pilates?

The 6 Pilates Fundamentals:

  •       Centering

  •       Concentration

  •       Control

  •       Precision

  •       Breath 

  •       Flow



Joseph Hubertus Pilates was born in 1880 near Düsseldorf, Germany.  He was a sickly child, and suffered from asthma, rickets, and rheumatic fever. He was determined to overcome his physical disadvantages. Joseph began to self-educate himself in anatomy, bodybuilding, gymnastics, yoga, wrestling, and martial arts. He soon built an almost Adonis-like "anatomical ideal," to the point that at the age of 14 he was posing as a model for anatomy charts.  He came to the realization that our modern lifestyle, bad posture, and incorrect  breathing were the cause of  poor health.

His answer to these problems was to design a unique series of vigorous physical exercises that help to correct muscular imbalances and improve posture, coordination, balance, strength, and flexibility, as well as to increase breathing capacity and organ function. He also invented a variety of machines, based on spring-resistance, that could be used to perform these exercises. Joseph was living in England working a s circus and a boxer when he was placed in internment in England during WWI.  This is where he began to develop the floor exercises which we now know as Pilates mat work.

Pilates wanted everyone in his cell block participate in daily exercise  to help their physical and mental well-being. However, some of the injured German soldiers were too weak to get out of bed.  This is what inspired him to utilize equipment available to him like, springs from the bed and beer keg rings to create resistance equipment for his bedridden patients.  These beginnings came to be the equipment we know as the Reformer, the Cadillac, and even the Magic Circle.  He called his technique ,which he called "Contrology", is the "complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit."

Pilates returned to Germany after the war, where his reputation preceded him and was asked to the German secret police.

At this point he decided to emigrate to the United States. He met his wife, Clara, a nurse, on the boat to New York City. Together they opened the first Body Contrology Studio on Eighth Avenue at 56th Street in Manhattan.  Joseph Pilates taught in New York CIty from 1926-1966 before his death in 1967.  During this time he trained a number of students including dancers, and well known persons of New York.  His students applied his work to their own lives and some became teachers of the Pilates method as well.  

For the rest of his life, he continued to develop his exercise system and to create new pieces of equipment for it.  

In the 1980's the interest in Pilates grew and has become what we know today.  Now, Pilates studios are all over the world.

 Joesph Pilates was truly a man ahead of his time.