Pilates is based on six ruling principles:

Breathing

Control Centring

Precision Concentration

Flow

Balance

Coordination

 

THE PILATES METHOD

Pilates is a system of exercises designed to balance the anatomy, developed in the 1920's by Joseph Pilates, a circus performer and self-defense trainer. His method was so effective that it has since attracted famous professional dancers and choreographers from all over the world.

The aim of these exercises is to strengthen the muscles and correct posture giving adherence to core stability and body awareness. Unlike weight training, the movements are fluid rather than jerky, stretching muscles to create sleekness rather than bulk. This is achieved with the use of specific exercise equipment that would not be found in an ordinary gymnasium.

Pilates is often referred to as remedial gymnastics and physiotherapists and doctors frequently prescribe Pilates for their patients to rehabilitate their injuries.

The beauty of the Pilates Method is that it lends itself to all levels of physical fitness and to all ages. Classes are tailored to individual needs and capabilities.  

Pilates has proven itself for more than 80 years as a safe, effective and intelligent method of exercise.

Joseph Hubertus Pilates was born in Germany in 1880.  As a child he suffered from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever and led him to begin the journey to fitness and health.  He studied both Eastern and Western forms of exercise including Yoga, Zen, ancient Greek and Roman regimens, bodybuilding and gymnastics.
In 1912 he came to England and worked as a boxer and a circus performer. During WW1, he was interned along with other Germans and it was here that the beginnings of his Method began to take shape.
He began by devising equipment to rehabilitate suffering internees, taking the springs from the beds and inventing exercise apparatus for the bedridden. After the war he was officially asked to teach his fitness system to the army.
En route to America Joseph met his future wife, Clara and together they opened the first Pilates studio, where they developed their method of exercise, invented equipment and trained students.

Joseph Pilates in his studio in NYC with his wife Clara and niece Mary.

Pilates in his studio in NYC with his wife Clara .

Joseph became a teacher to many renowned dancers and choreographers, who attended his classes for training and rehabilitation. Hanya Holm, the pioneer of modern dance, whose students included Jerome Robins.   
Joseph Pilates died in October 1967, at the age of 86. His wife Clara continued to teach and run the studio until her death, in 1977.

Today, a large number of professional instructors, inspired by Joseph’s original method, have dedicated their lives to teaching Pilates, helping to develop the method further and spreading its popularity amongst athletes, dancers, fitness professionals, as well as the general public.

 

 

 

 

As a child, I would lie in the woods for hours, hiding and watching the animals move…

Joseph Pilates strongly believed that a uniformly developed body should be the aim of all intelligent exercise. He built his system on the principle that a well balanced muscular development can minimise undue stress, pain and complications in later life. This principle is alive and well at our studio. We regard our injury prevention training as one of our major strengths and one of our many legacies from the method’s founder.

 

Rudolf von Laban, the famous movement analyst, is said to have incorporated Pilates theories and exercises into his own work. 

Mary Wigman, the German dancer and choreographer was a student of Joe’s and used his exercises in her dance class warm-up.

George Balanchine, the famous choreographer, studied with Joe and sent many of his dancers to Pilates for strengthening and “balancing” as well as rehabilitation, as did the famous dancer and choreographer, Martha Graham. 

Joe’s definition of physical fitness was:  “the attainment and maintenance of a uniformly developed body with a sound mind fully capable of naturally, easily and satisfactorily performing our many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure”. 

Romana Kryzanowska, a former student of Jo’s is quoted as saying “The key to working The method is based on the movement of animals; everything about the method is based on moving naturally.”