The History of Pilates
Joseph Pilates, born in 1880 Germany, spent his childhood fighting rickets, asthma and rheumatic fever. Determined to become physically immune to his ailments, Joe studied yoga, meditation and the rigorous exercise regimes of the ancient Greeks and Romans. By his Teens, Joe was excelling in skiing, diving and gymnastics.
In 1912 he moved to England worked as a boxer, circus performer and taught self defence.
When WW1 broke out, Joe was interned as a prisoner of war and later trained as an orderly in the hospital. Here he was appalled to see so many ill people in bed doing no exercise and he devised a gentle exercise regime for these patients. It became clear that those practising Joe’s exercises were improving faster. Joe’s physical fitness regimes are said to have prevented himself and his fellow prisoners contracting the influenza virus that killed thousands of POW’s.
After the war, Joe returned to Germany and continued to develop his exercise regime within the dance world and his good reputation quickly grew. He later set up “The Pilates Studio” in New York with his wife Clara.
Today pilates continues to evolve and benefit thousands of people around the world.
The below YouTube Video showing an original Joseph Pilates session – somewhat different to what you would experience today!
Please note – I AM NOT ENCOURAGING ANYONE TO COPY THESE TECHNIQUES! This is simply an insight into the history of pilates exercises.
My following blog will discuss the modern APPI pilates method that I use with my patients today.