What is Pilates?

Pilates is an innovative system of mind-body exercise evolved from the principles of Joseph Pilates.

Pilates dramatically transforms the way your body looks, feels and performs, building strength without excess bulk. It teaches body awareness, good posture and easy, graceful movement. Pilates improves flexibility, agility and economy of motion. It can even help alleviate back pain. Pilates appeals to so many people because the principals are applicable to all people of all fitness levels. Each and every one of us would benefit from better posture and improved levels of strength and flexibility. Pilates does this by targeting the muscles around the joints and helping to strengthen the body from the inside out. It strengthens the muscles that stabilize the spine such as the deep abdominals, the pelvic floor, and the deep back muscles. Regular practice can:

Enhance circulation, relaxation, and increase lung capacity

Improve posture and body alignment

Relieve tension and reduce stress

Improve muscular flexibility, strength, and tone

Enhance athletic performance and coordination

Increase bone density

Help prevent future injury

Rehabilitate existing injuries

Improve the way your body looks and feels

In conventional workouts, weak muscles tend to get weaker and strong muscles tend to get stronger. The result is muscular imbalance – a primary cause of injury and chronic back pain. Pilates conditions the whole body, even the ankles and feet. No muscle group is over trained or under trained. Your entire musculature is evenly balanced and conditioned, helping you enjoy daily activities and sports with greater ease and less chance of injury. No other exercise system is so gentle to your body while giving it a challenging workout. Many of the exercises are performed in reclining or sitting positions, and most are low impact and partially weight bearing. Pilates is so safe, it is used in physical therapy facilities to rehabilitate injuries. Pilates dramatically reduces the potential for injury by emphasizing quality movements rather than quantity. Focus and controlled breathing are essential elements that make Pilates a workout for the mind and the body.

– from www.pilates.com

Who Does Pilates?

Pilates is for absolutely everyone!

Those who are fitness minded, athletes and weekend warriors.

The elderly, injured and inactive.

The pre & post natal mother.

Children build self confidence and athletic edge.

People with chronic back pain, fibromyalgia, osteoporosis, and more.

People with poor postural habits and patterns.

It is for you!

Your Pilates program is designed with only you in mind.

Who is Joseph Pilates?

Joe went to England in 1912, where he worked as a self-defense instructor for detectives at Scotland Yard. At the outbreak of World War I, Joe was interned as an “enemy alien” with other German nationals. During his internment, Joe refined his ideas and trained other internees in his system of exercise. He rigged springs to hospital beds, enabling bedridden patients to exercise against resistance, an innovation that led to his later equipment designs. An influenza epidemic struck England in 1918, killing thousands of people, but not a single one of Joe’s trainees died. This, he claimed, testified to the effectiveness of his system.

After his release, Joe returned to Germany. His exercise method gained favor in the dance community, primarily through Rudolf von Laban, who created the form of dance notation most widely used today. Hanya Holm adopted many of Joe’s exercises for her modern dance curriculum, and they are still part of the “Holm Technique.” When German officials asked Joe to teach his fitness system to the army, he decided to leave Germany for good.

In 1926, Joe emigrated to the United States. During the voyage he met Clara, whom he later married. Joe and Clara opened a fitness studio in New York, sharing an address with the New York City Ballet.

By the early 1960s, Joe and Clara could count among their clients many New York dancers. George Balanchine studied “at Joe’s,” as he called it, and also invited Pilates to instruct his young ballerinas at the New York City Ballet.

“Pilates” was becoming popular outside of New York as well. As the New York Herald Tribune noted in 1964, “in dance classes around the United States, hundreds of young students limber up daily with an exercise they know as a pilates, without knowing that the word has a capital P, and a living, right-breathing namesake.”

Joe continued to train clients at his studio until his death in 1967, at the age of 87.