Born an asthmatic child in Germany in 1883, Joe Pilates was determined to overcome his ailments. At a young age Joe studied the body, as well as Eastern and Western forms of exercise such as Yoga, wrestling, martial arts, gymnastics, acrobatics, and boxing, among many others. Joe developed a series of floor routines that demanded balance, flexibility, strength, power, agility and acute mental focus in order to execute them correctly. He called his method “Contrology” (using the mind to control the body). He went one step further by combining his engineering skills with his knowledge of health and the body to design specialized exercise apparatus using springs, pulleys and movable platforms to create variable-resistance workouts.
As far back as the early 1900s he was already focusing on core-based, functional training that developed spine stability and mobility, proper breathing, efficient circulation of blood and lymph, plus mental acuity. It’s as if new science is still catching up with Joe Pilates’s understanding of what the body needs to function optimally and experience longevity. In fact, it seems as if he designed his Method to be more than just an exercise system; but a lifestyle and a mindset.
The Complete Works of Joseph Pilates
Jospeh Pilates wrote and published 2 books “Your Health” in 1934 and “Return to Life Through Contrology” in 1945 (a copy can be borrowed at the studio).
As often happens with true genius, Pilates’ body-mind approach to working out was about 50 years ahead of its time. The fitness industry is only now catching up as we choose more and more to work out intelligently.