Joseph Hurbertus Pilates 1880–1967

Joseph Pilates

Joseph Pilates was born in Düsseldorf in 1880.

He had many illnesses as a child and suffered from rickets, asthma and rheumatic fever. He was a determined character and would not be beaten by his fragility.

He experimented with many elements of fitness including yoga, gymnastics, skiing, self-defence, dance, circus training and weight training.

He was training detectives at Scotland Yard when WW1 broke out. Because of his nationality he was interned in Lancaster and then the Isle of Man. He helped in the camp hospital and it was here that he developed his techniques for fellow internees, by using springs and pulleys attached to bed frames, to help men with wartime injuries to become stronger whilst confined to their beds.

After the war the German army asked him to work for them but he had his sights set on New York. Whist travelling by sea to the US he met a nurse called Clara, also passionate about fitness. They later married and set up a studio in the same premises as dance and theatre studios.

He quickly attracted the dancers and sports people to his method, by which time was called Controlology. Many were sent from George Balanchine and Martha Graham. He built a reputation that actresses and athletes alike were anxious to learn from Pilates.

After his death in 1967 at the grand age of 87 (still teaching) his wife Clara continued teaching his method for a further 10 years. It was a handful of his clients that then decided to continue his method and bring it to the public.

In the late 1990’s Contrololgy was born again and now known as Pilates, is a growing and thriving and respected method of exercise. Recognised by many heath professionals to be the ground work for rehabilitation and continued health.

Who Is Pilates For?

  • Anyone who would like to improve their posture
  • For those rehabilitating from injuries
  • Pre/Post natal mothers
  • For those of us that find life too fast, and would like to relax more
  • Back sufferers
  • Joint problems or alignment problems
  • Osteoporosis
  • Athletes, dancers, swimmers, etc. who would like to prevent injury
  • No age or gender limit
  • Anyone who would like to take up or would like to continue exercising

Benefits of Pilates

  • Improves posture
  • Increases mobility and flexibility
  • Strengthens core muscles
  • Helps to re-align the body
  • Eases back and other joint pains
  • Reduces the risk of injury through sports and helps recovery from injury
  • Improves pelvic floor
  • Brings awareness to mind and body
  • Helps to reduce stress and tension
  • Increases circulation
  • Can reduce headaches where posture related
  • Improves co-ordination
  • Weight bearing
  • Relaxation