German born Joseph H. Pilates suffered from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever as a child which inspired his lifelong pursuit of health and strength. During WWI, Joe (as he is affectionately referred to today) was interned in an English camp for “enemy aliens” where he trained fellow inmates who had suffered disease or injury. It was this work that led to the creation of the machines and system of exercise, originally called Contrology, that he is famous for today. Using springs from the hospital beds, bed ridden patients were able to exercise against resistance to regain their strength and improve their health. After the war, Joe emigrated to the United States and opened his first fitness studio in New York City. Despite its recent popularity, Pilates has been recognized by dancers as an important part of their training for many years. In addition, doctors, physical therapists, and other health care professionals are now recommending the Pilates method as a safe and effective system of fitness and rehabilitation.
Pilates is a method of physical and mental conditioning which re-educates the body to promote proper alignment, develop efficient movement patterns, and prevent injury. The work is designed to simultaneously stretch and strengthen, while reducing tension and strain. A wide variety of exercises are performed on specially designed resistance equipment, emphasizing quality of movement as opposed to quantity of repetitions. When practiced regularly, the Pilates method will balance the body to increase physical fitness, enhance sports performance, relieve back and neck pain, or simply improve the function and quality of daily living. However, it is the mind-body connection that truly makes it unique.
- Energizes the body, stimulates the mind, lifts the spirit
- Tones and builds long, lean muscles without bulk
- Targets the "core" muscles close to the spine, creating strength and stability from the inside out
- Improves flexibility, coordination and balance
- Restores postural alignment, making you look and feel taller
- Promotes recovery from strain, injury and chronic pain
- Relieves stress by focusing on the breath