Pilates

Pilates at Your Body Wellness.

Pilates is a non impact physical system developed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates and popular in many countries today.

Pilates is a body conditioning routine that helps build flexibility, muscle strength, and endurance in the legs, abdominals, arms, hips and back. It puts emphasis on spinal and pelvic alignment and stability, breathing, and developing a strong core or center as well as improving coordination and balance. Pilates’ system allows for different exercises to be modified in range of difficulty from beginning to advanced. Intensity can be increased over time as the body conditions and adapts to the exercises.

Pilates focuses on slow controlled movements stretching tight overworked muscles and strengthening the smaller stabilizing muscle groups to give greater support to joints and muscles.

Pilates improves muscle tone, balances musculature, supports correct posture, and teaches to move with ease and grace. It is useful for improving balance, lumbar stabilization and flexibility, lower back pain, and pelvic floor strength.

Your Body Wellness Pilates classes focuses on teaching from the perspective of six Pilates movement principles.

Principles

  1. Breathing
  2. Axial Elongation and Core Control
  3. Spinal Articulation
  4. Organisation of Head Neck and Shoulders
  5. Weight Bearing and Alignment of the Extremities
  6. Movement Integration.

 

Short History of Pilates

Joseph Pilates

Early Life

Pilates was created and designed by Joseph Pilates who was born in 1880 Monchengladbach, Germany. Unhealthy as a child, Joseph Pilates grew up suffering from rickets, asthma and rheumatic fever.

During his life he studied many kinds of self-improvement systems. He drew from Eastern practices and Zen Buddhism, and was inspired by the ancient Greek ideal of man perfected in development of body, mind and spirit. On his way to developing the Pilates Method, Joseph Pilates studied anatomy and developed himself as a body builder, a wrestler, gymnast, boxer, skier and diver.

WWI

Whilst later living in England, he worked as a circus performer and boxer, but he was placed in forced internment in England at the outbreak of WWI. While in the internment camp, he began to develop the floor exercises that evolved into what we now know Pilates mat work.

Joseph Pilates began to work with rehabilitating detainees who were suffering from diseases and injuries during the War. It was invention born of necessity that inspired him to utilize items that were available to him, like bedsprings and beer keg rings, to create resistance exercise equipment for his patients. These were the unlikely beginnings of the equipment we use today, like the reformer and the magic or Pilates circle.

New York

After WWI, Joseph Pilates briefly returned to Germany where his reputation as a physical trainer/healer gained further attention. In Germany, he worked briefly for the Hamburg Military Police in self-defense and physical training. In 1925, he was asked to train the German army. Instead, he packed his bags and took a boat to New York City. On the boat to America, Joseph met Clara, a nurse, who became his wife. He went on to establish his studio in New York and Clara worked with him as he evolved the Pilates method of exercise, invented the Pilates exercise equipment, and trained students.

Pilates published two books related to his training method: Your Health: A Corrective System of Exercising That Revolutionizes the Entire Field of Physical Education in 1934, and Return to Life Through Contrology in 1945.

His first students that went on to teach his methods and open studios were collectively called the Elders. The most prominent include: Romana Kryzanowska, Kathy Grant, Jay Grimes, Ron Fletcher, Maja Wollman, Mary Bowen, Carola Treir, Bob Seed, Eve Gentry, Bruce King, Lolita San Miguel, and Mary Pilates, Joseph’s niece. Contemporary Pilates includes both the “Modern” Pilates and the “Classical/Traditional” Pilates. Modern Pilates is partly derived from the teaching of some first generation students, while Classical preserves and promotes the original work as Joseph Pilates taught it.

The method was originally confined to a few who practiced it in a specialized studio. Nowadays, Pilates in whatever form can be found in community centers, gyms, and physiotherapy rooms, and offered by Pilates-inspired businesses who have mixed Pilates with other disciplines.

1967 – His death

Joseph Pilates passed away in 1967. He had maintained a fit physique throughout his life, and many photos show that he was in remarkable physical condition in his older years. He is also said to have had a flamboyant personality. He smoked cigars, liked to party, and wore his exercise briefs wherever he wanted (even on the streets of New York). It is said that he was an intimidating, though deeply committed, instructor. Clara Pilates continued to teach and run the studio for another 10 years after Joseph Pilates death.

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