Wednesday, March 20, 2013

     To understand better how and why the exercise method we know as Pilates came about as a highly acclaimed way to keep a body in top form, we need to meet the man whom founded this set of body changing movements. Take a moment for this very interesting read!

the History of Joseph Pilates
Pilates Technique

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     "Joseph Humbertus Pilates was a man who believed completely in his method and practiced what he prescribed to others well into his eighties. Even as an older man he was quite robust and vital until his death, at the age of 87.
     "As a child, Joseph suffered from several health ailments: asthma, rickets, and rheumatic fever.  In an effort to restore his own health, he studied anatomy books and reinforced what he learned by observing animals in the woods. “Take a horse,” he later said in discussing body conditioning, “If a man wants to race him, he keeps him in top form. He makes the horse move. Why not keep humans in top form too?” Joseph studied Eastern disciplines, like yoga and martial arts, and blended them with more Western forms of physical activities, such as bodybuilding, gymnastics, boxing and recreational sports; even incorporating ancient Greek and Roman forms of fitness practices. By the age of fourteen he had sculpted his physique to such an extent that he was posing for anatomical charts." 
     "Joseph and Clara taught their method of using the mind to control the muscles to a devout following in New York. Local dancers came regularly to heal injuries quickly and improve their strength while maintaining their flexibility. George Balanchine and Martha Graham became devotees to Joseph Pilates’ method and often sent their dance students to “Uncle Joe,” as some called him affectionately.  Joseph also taught his mat work at Jacob’s Pillow in the summer to young dancers in Becket, Massachusetts. His hour-long classes began with deep breathing--a fundamental element of the Pilates method."
    "In 1938, dancer Eve Gentry commenced studies with Joseph and Clara, and she taught alongside them until 1968. She then relocated to Santa Fe, New Mexico and opened a studio.  Carola Trier came to Joseph Pilates because of a non-stage related injury that kept her from performing in 1940.  In the late 1950s, she opened her own studio of Contrology in New York, with Joe’s blessings." 
     "Joseph’s obituary, appearing in the New York Times in 1967, reads like an advertisement for his methods. He is described as a white-maned lion with steel blue eyes (one was glass eye from a boxing mishap), and mahogany skin, and as limber in his 80’s as a teenager."
     "Dance companies all over the world use Pilates’ exercises to keep their dancers in top form. Today his method is taught around the world in studios, gyms, in universities and even grade schools. Due to the attention the mainstream public gives to Hollywood celebrities, the name Pilates is now a household word thanks to the many film and television stars who credit Pilates for their toned-physique." 

Pilates Technique 
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