Pilates Explained

What is Pilates?

A philosophy of well-being based upon a system of exercise that enhances self-awareness, strength, stamina and resilience to promote whole body health and to optimise your personal performance.

The History of Pilates

“To achieve the highest accomplishments within the scope of our capabilities in all walks of life, we must constantly strive to acquire strong, healthy bodies and develop our minds to the limit of our ability”.
Joseph Pilates

German born Joseph Pilates was essentially an inventor and explorer (of ideas, rather than places). He was very interested in all aspects of human health. He believed strongly in the co-ordination of mind, body and spirit.

He spent much of his life devising apparatus and exercises to achieve that end and passing on his ideas to others. He opened his studio in New York after emigrating to the US in the 1920’s and continued to design apparatus (and furniture) and to develop his ideas until his death in 1967. Many of his inventions look bizarre, but most of the apparatus that he designed to train people in better movement is in use today in Pilates studios around the world.

The History of Pilates Matwork Classes

The concept of Pilates Matwork classes actually came into existence in the 1980s, years after Joseph Pilates had died. They were based on the 34 exercises that Creator Joseph Pilates published in his book ‘Return to Life’, in 1945.

Had you been taught by Joseph in his studio, while there may have been some mat exercises included, the work was mostly done on apparatus. The studio was the place, with the help of the apparatus, to learn how to better perform the mat exercises when you were on your own. In other words, the mat exercises were intended as homework.

Pilates Today

Pilates in the 21st century is a movement system taught either as mat or studio classes, privately or in groups.

The Pilates movement system is based around a few basic principles:

Breathing
Whole Body Health
Whole Body Commitment*

*Whole Body Commitment is mental and physical discipline, a work ethic, an attitude toward oneself and assuming a lifestyle that is necessary to achieve Whole Body Health.