The Man Pilates

With the integrative effect of principles such as centering, breath, and flow, you will notice a difference in 10 visits, feel a difference in 20, and in 30… will have a whole new body.

That is Joe’s promise to you.

Joseph Hubertus Pilates (December 9, 1883 – October 9, 1967)

Many people know that the Pilates Method of Body Conditioning (Contrology) was invented by Joseph Pilates, but few know anything about the man behind the Method.

“Joe” was born in 1883 in Mönchengladbach, Germany to Greek parents. He was a sickly boy but survived despite war, internment, and the 1918 flu pandemic. Joe believed in recovery through movement, and he was living proof of his philosophies.

As a self-proclaimed "physical culturist," Joe had practiced yoga, body building, gymnastics, and possibly qigong. His interests included skiing and tennis. In his writing, Joe claimed, “Physical fitness is the first prerequisite to happiness!” His training methods developed over many years, starting from the age of 12, with his study of human anatomy. The man knew he was decades ahead of his time, claiming he would not be understood for 50 years…and he was right.

Pilates worked to develop his method of body training, teaching police forces in Germany and England, before moving with his wife Clara to New York in 1925 . His ideas followed that of ancient training methods (Yoga, Qigong, Tai Chi), which unite the mind, spirit and body. He worked to create a form of holistic exercise which requires whole body commitment in concentration, timing, focus, and precision of movement. Mentally controlling and spiritually listening, you must stay involved in what your body is doing.

“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.” - RETURN TO LIFE by Joseph H. Pilates.

Joe defined physical fitness as “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 tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure.” His Promise: Contrology (the Pilates Method) will develop your body UNIFORMLY. This word, “uniformly” is the key reason that Pilates works for fitness, for therapy (corrective exercise), and especially for people with posture related pain. Uniform development of the body works to balance out asymmetries.

Here we live with a force more powerful, more long-lasting than any of us. We live on a planet with GRAVITY. Gravity never stops. Gravity pulls us toward the Earth’s center 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, all the days and years of our life! This force requires us to “work” against it or it gets the better of us. How can we work against gravity? The answer is simple, but not simple to achieve. We win against gravity with ALIGNMENT.

When we have good alignment, our bodies can better withstand the Earth's force of acceleration times our mass, which is gravity. When we have good (bone) alignment our muscles work with it, developing uniformly, balancing our bodies to perform “our many and varied tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure.”

Therefore, Pilates works to correct bad posture and muscle imbalances causing rounded shoulders, forward head position, double curvature of the neck or lumbar (hyperlordosis) spine, pelvic and back pain, as well as many other ailments related to poor posture. Pilates enthusiasts claim the practice of Contrology (Pilates) increases stabilization, strength, flexibility, and balance – benefiting the WHOLE BODY for people of all ages and fitness levels.

“Contrology is specifically designed and conducted to arouse sluggish blood, distend every capillary, force lymph through every interstice: by stretching every muscle and sinew and wringing-out the body. All under the strict control of the awakened brain in each of its ten billions of nerve cells.” - RETURN TO LIFE by Joseph H. Pilates.

Joe Pilates, the man behind the Contrology Method.