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What Is Pilates?

Pilates is an intelligent form of exercise that uniformly conditions the body. It stretches and strengthens all the muscles giving the body a well-defined shape. It targets the deep stabilising muscles that are so important for good posture and health. Pilates restores your body to balance.

The method concentrates the mind and encourages correct breathing to increase lung capacity and blood circulation. It improves bone density and promotes good joint mobility. It ensures that the muscles are in balance and therefore create harmony in the body. Pilates dramatically increases core strength and when practiced regularly it will produce incredible benefits for your body.

Pilates is suitable for everyone, regardless of fitness, gender or age. Suitable if you have a back issue, if you are pregnant or have just had a baby or you are already fit and strong, play sport and want to stay that way.

Joseph Pilates

Joseph Pilates was born near Düsseldorf, Germany in 1880. Little is known about his early life, but he appears to have been a frail child, suffering from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. His drive and determination to overcome these ailments led him to become a competent gymnast, diver and skier.


In 1912 Pilates lived in England working as a circus performer, boxer and self-defence instructor. During the First World War, he was interned with other German nationals. During this time he developed his technique of physical fitness further, by teaching his fellow internees. During the latter part of the War, he served as an orderly in a hospital on the Isle of Man where he worked with patients unable to walk. He attached bed springs to the hospital beds to help support the patients' limbs, leading to the development of his famous piece of equipment known as the 'Cadillac'. Much of his equipment, although slightly adapted, is still in use today in many Pilates Studios.


Pilates emigrated to the USA in the early 1920s, opening a 'body-conditioning studio' with his wife Clara in New York in 1926. The studio featured much of the Apparatus designed to enhance his rehabilitation work. It soon became very popular, particularly with the dance community, as it offered a chance to improve technique or recover from injury. Word spread quickly and many celebrities of the day visited his studio. These included dance legends such as Ruth St. Denis, Ted Shawn, Jerome Robbins, George Balanchine and Martha Graham, as well as the actor Jose Ferrer and the author
Christopher Isherwood.


In 1932 Pilates published a booklet called 'Your Health' and followed this with another called 'Return to Life Through Contrology' in 1945. Through these writings and his students, his method was passed on, after his death in 1967 at the age of 87. His method of exercise was called Contrology. It was only after his death that it became known as Pilates or the Pilates Method.


Benefits Of Pilates

General Fitness

  • Improves your posture

  • Improves mobility and flexibility of the spine

  • Delivers muscle tone and flexibility

  • Promotes a more efficient and supportive core

  • Increases stability for the pelvis and shoulders

  • Fosters the health of joints through improved mobility and support from the surrounding musculature

  • Complements training for athletes

Health Conditions

  • Facilitates injury prevention and physical rehabilitation

  • Builds better balance and coordination, particularly for the elderly

  • Offers a safe and excellent form of exercise for ante and post-natal women

  • Alleviates aches and pains

  • Helps maintain and can improve bone density

  • Develops the function and efficiency of the lungs with improvement in circulation

  • Offers a safe and beneficial form of exercise for a wide range of medical conditions, including Scoliosis, Osteoporosis, Arthritis, and Multiple Sclerosis

Overall Well-being

  • Makes you look and feel better

  • Relieves stress and tension and promotes a feeling of well-being

  • Expands body awareness

  • Integrates mind, body and spirit

  • Improves quality of life

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