“Patience and persistence are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor.”–Joseph H Pilates 1880-1967
German-born Joseph Humbertus Pilates began developing his exercise technique at a young age. Shortly before the outbreak of WW I, he moved to England with his brother. When war struck, the two were sent to the British encampment, The Isle of Man. It wasn’t long before Joseph was teaching fellow inmates his mat exercises and self defense. Impressed by strength gains and boosted immune systems, British officials recruited Joseph to assist in the hospitals rehabilitating injured soldiers. He began attaching springs, pulleys and straps to beds and wheelchairs so the men could mimic his floor exercises but with assistance. After the war, Joseph returned to Germany, but felt his efforts threatened by Communism, so he set out to New York City. On the boat ride to the US, he met a school teacher, Clara, and the two wed.
Pilates further developed the equipment in a studio space at 939 Eigth Street, NYC, shared by several dance companies. It wasn’t long before names such as George Balanchine, Martha Graham and Jerome Robbins were coming to Joe, along with their injured company dancers. Joe’s method, “Contrology” as he called it, offered an excellent solution. The method improved balance, coordination, alignment and muscle tone, ultimately lengthening muscles rather than bulking them up, and creating graceful and lean physiques.
After Pilates died in 1967, at age 87, Clara and seven of Joe’s students continued to teach his method. Today, there are hundreds of Pilates studios throughout the US and dozens of websites, videos, and books that promote the exercise method.
At The Loft Pilates Center, we are dedicated to adhering to the principles of Pilates and the teaching of his method.
Benefits of Pilates
- Lengthens and decompresses the spinal column
- Alleviates back pain and tension
- Develops core strength and stability
- Balances muscular development in the body
- Improves posture and balance
- Increases lung capacity and breath control
- Enhances proficiency and efficiency of movement on sports and daily living