Joseph Pilates was born near Düsseldorf, Germany in 1883. Little is known about his early life, but he appears to have been a frail child, suffering from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. His drive and determination to overcome these ailments led him to become a competent gymnast, diver and skier.
Far more than a recent fitness craze, Pilates has been developed and practiced since the 1920's when Joseph and Clara Pilates opened their 'Body Conditioning Gym' in New York City.
“I invented all these machines... it resists your movements in just the right way so those inner muscles really have to work against it. That way you can concentrate on movement. You must always do it slowly and smoothly. Then your whole body is in it." - Joseph Pilates
Joe Pilates based his work on three principles: Breath, whole-body health and whole-body commitment; with the whole-body incompassing mind, body and spirit.
It is in the honouring of the Pilates Principles that the depth of the work is achieved. These Principles are traditionally cited as:
"Above all, learn how to breathe correctly." - Joseph Pilates
The popularity of the Pilates Method has spread steadily since the day when Pilates first opened his studio. Pilates has now become a worldwide phenomenon with over 12 million people practicing, and the numbers continue to grow due to its effectiveness and adaptability.
*Information sourced from www.pilatesfoundation.com