Joseph Pilates was a German-born fitness innovator who had experienced a childhood of sickness and disease. Surviving rickets, asthma, and rheumatic fever had fueled his desire to strengthen his body and improve his general health and well-being. With a diverse background in fitness, including self-defense, diving, boxing and even circus performance, he blended his experience into a complete system in order to train the body and mind.
While he was an orderly in an infirmary, Joseph refined his unique series of exercises during World War I. His insight and engineering skills allowed him to develop exercises that could allow bedridden soldiers to strengthen their muscles and increase their flexibility and endurance, thus restoring them to good health. Later, Joseph and his fellow employees claimed that the Pilates exercises saved them from the 1918 influenza epidemic due to their physically fit lungs.
The Pilates Method
Pilates can be practiced in a variety of ways. In some cases, it has been watered down from its original form. Marketing moguls have zeroed in on the vast female audience resulting in an over-generalized notion that Pilates is only a "core" workout. Make no mistake, Pilates is for both Men and Women, offering a complete and total mind-body workout.
By encouraging body awareness, muscular strength, endurance, and flexibility, the Pilates method emphasizes the development of our bodies so that we may address the functional needs of everyday life in a healthy way. It is a mind-body exercise method and a way of life which encourages the entire body to work in a unified manner, with physical and mental precision. When practicing these functional exercises, one gains the ability to translate the knowledge learned during private and group instruction into movements used throughout daily life.
One of the great benefits of practicing Pilates is the achievement of an aware mind and a strong body that is less prone to injury. With a relatively small investment of time, one can train the body to become more efficient, combat the stresses of life, and clear and focus the mind to attain a long-term benefit in all areas of life.