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History of Pilates

Around 1914, Joseph Pilates was a performer and boxer living in England. At the outbreak of WWI, he was placed under forced internment along with other German nationals in Lancaster, England. There he taught fellow camp members the concepts and exercises he developed over 20 years of self-study and apprenticeship in yoga, Zen, and ancient Greek and Roman physical regimens. It was at this time that he began devising the system of original exercises known today as “matwork” or exercises done on the floor. He called this regimen “Contrology” – ‘the science of control’. He was later transferred to another camp where he became a nurse/caretaker to the many internees struck with wartime diseases and physical injuries. Here, he began devising equipment to rehabilitate his “patients,” using the bed springs for support and gentle resistance, assisting the bedridden in intentional movement. Because of his ingenuity and work, a beautiful system was born that we have the privilege of utilizing today. Pilates is now one of the fastest growing forms of exercise, uniquely addressing the needs of a wide range of people in their fitness goals or concerns, making it effective and appropriate for nearly everyone!

joseph pilates old and young

Joseph Pilates at 57 and 82 years young