Joseph Pilates was the creator of ‘Contrology’ now known as Pilates. He was born in 1880 in Dusseldorf, Germany and was a sickly child, suffering from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. He managed to overcome his physical limitations by developing his own program of exercise and bodybuilding.

In 1923 he immigrated to the USA and on the voyage met Clara, his wife and business partner with whom he opened the first Pilates Studio in New York, sharing premises with the New York City Ballet. By the 1960’s Joe and Clara’s style of exercise, termed ‘Pilates’ had become very popular.
In the 1970’s Romana Kryzanowska became the director of Joe and Clara’s original NY Studio and several of Joe’s students went on to open their own studios.

Famous names of Pilates teachers include Ron Fletcher (Los Angeles 1970). Kathy Grant and Lolita San Miguel, Eve Gentry, Bruce King, Mary Bowen and Robert Fitzgerald are among those students who opened their own studios to teach Pilates method.

Very few teachers still practice Pilates (Contrology) in its original form and most instructors and rehabilitation specialists now use modified versions of the original method. In 1999 thanks to the hard work of a number of prominent members of the Pilates community, a court ruling determined that the word ‘Pilates’ was generic and could be used by various training organisations.

Each training organisation delivers their own ‘brand’ of Pilates method, but generally the main principles remain the same. These include, breathing, movement and balance, core control, spinal articulation and stability, strength, centering, alignment and arrangement of the body, precision and timing, flexibility.

Most training organisations of repute include the latest research in bio mechanics and motor learning, bioenergetics and advancement in communications to enhance the delivery of the training experience for the class participants.

Pilates biography and basic exercises

Here is a useful resource, in addition to classes or personal tuition, if you are truly interested in Pilates and in improving your own practice.

Do remember that self-practice must be observed in order to improve.

Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness. It is the attainment and maintenance of a uniformly developed body with a sound mind fully capable of naturally, easily, and satisfactorily performing our many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure.

Joseph Pilates