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history of pilates

Joseph Pilates was born in Germany on December 09, 1883 (in Muenchengladbach).

Around 1914, Joseph Pilates was a performer and a boxer living in England and, at the outbreak of WWI, was placed under forced internment along with other Germans in Lancaster, England.

There he taught fellow camp members the concepts and exercises developed over 20 years of self-study and apprenticeship in yoga and Zen. A few years later, when Pilates was transferred to another camp, he became a caretaker to the many internees who were struck with wartime disease and physical injury.

There he began devising equipment to rehabilitate his "patients", taking springs from the beds and rigging them to create spring resistance and "movement" for the bedridden. With this arrangement, he facilitated circulation and healing by moving injured limbs in ranges patients could not otherwise perform, thereby restoring joint junction and muscular strength and re-educating the body.

Josef Pilates started his work on the floor in a supine position, to avoid putting undue strain and stress on the heart or the joints of the body. Nevertheless, the mat exercises are still very challenging due to the fact that they are unassisted.

The period before Josef Pilates immigration to the USA is not well documented. On the way over to the United States, Joseph met Clara, who soon became his wife and played an integral role in developing and teaching his method. She has been described as a compassionate, knowledgeable, and kind teacher in some ways a superior teacher to Joseph Pilates himself.

In 1926 they set up their first studio in New York City, which attracted a diverse population, including socialites, circus performers, gymnasts and athletes. But those who truly recognized the value of Pilates system and the deep understanding of the workings of the human body were the members of the dance community.

Josef Pilates himself was a very disciplined man, as his teaching and his physical condition and performance reveal. His work shows the influence of yoga, gymnastics, boxing, martial arts and Eastern and Western philosophies.

Josef Pilates dreamed of seeing his work taught in every college and school. He believed that children should be given knowledge of the body and that the information should be simple and accessible.

He published two books in his lifetime that related to his training method:
• "Your health: a corrective system of exercising that revolutionizes the entire field of physical education" (1934) and
• "Return to life through contrology" (1945)

Pilates was originally only practiced in specialized studios, but now, Pilates can be found in community centres, gyms, physiotherapy rooms and othermainstream avenues.

But the classical form of Pilates still survives!

Josef Pilates taught until his death in 1967.

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