5 Things You Might Not Know About Pilates
Updated: Jun 21, 2020
To be honest, it is wonderful that so many people in the world know about the exercise method known as Pilates. Over the past 20 years it has become a global phenomenon. With that, however, there are many things people do not know about the method itself and its creator. In this post I would like to highlight a few basic facts that might not be known about Pilates. The goal of the post is purely educational and is intended to broaden the understanding of the simple history and practice of the method and hopefully encourage readers to further explore Pilates.
1. Pilates was created by a man named Joseph Hubertus Pilates.
Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in the late 1880s and came to the U.S. in the early 1920s. He developed his system of exercises over decades building both repertoires for mat based exercises and apparatus based exercises. The mat series is a dedicated series of 34 exercises in a specified order. The order was created with a purpose to achieve a specific effect in the body. The apparatus he designed and developed exercises on were unique and many. They include the Universal Reformer, Cadillac (Trapeze Table), Electric Chair (High Chair), Wunda Chair (Low Chair), Ladder Barrel, Small Barrel, Spine Corrector (Step Barrel), Bench Mat, Ped-O-Pul, Magic Squares (toe square, finger square, head square), Magic Circle, and Sand Bag (though there are likely many more). Each of the apparatus had their own series of exercises and are part of a whole system that integrates respectively. The overall system was created and designed to look at the whole body from the feet to the head and everything in-between.
2. Pilates was originally called "Contrology".
During the living time of Joseph Pilates he himself called his method the Pilates Method of Body Contrology. Contrology being the complete control of the body with the use of the mind. He laid out his philosophies and theories in his two publications called "Your Health" published in 1934 and then "Return to Life Through Contrology" in 1945. "Return to Life" is the treatise that includes his original 34 mat exercises that can be followed with his written instruction. The basic premises of "Return to Life" are based on Mr. Pilates belief that 'civilization impairs physical fitness' and 'physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness'. He believed that we are naturally entitled to pleasurable living which is impaired by our overtaxed nervous systems, unnatural physical fatigue and mental strain due to the conditions of modern living. What he believed in 1945 still holds true today with the state of living in our modern world of 2020. Mr. Pilates defined contrology as "the complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit......contrology develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind, and elevates the spirit". The method revolves around improving breathing function, blood circulation, and posture. If you are interested in listening to my audio recording of each chapter of "Return to Life" please visit www.pilatesstatenisland.com and click the Free tab and then Audio Recordings.
3. Pilates was designed for everyone, not a select or varied few.
Joseph Pilates designed his method for everyone. The common misconception that it is for dancers or women, is just that, a misconception. He happened to have his studio in the same building as George Balanchine