History Of Pilates
Knowing the history of Pilates will help you appreciate it on a whole new level. It will also help you understand why it is a distinct method compared to others like Yoga. It is not an exercise that became popular recently. And it was not something that was created centuries ago. It is still a relatively new way of strengthening one’s core and the more you know about it, the easier it will be for you to understand and implement it in your life.
About Joseph Pilates
The best way to dig deeper into your knowledge of Pilates is to understand who created it in the first place. So before getting to know the history of Pilates, let us discuss who Joseph Pilates is.
Joseph Pilates was born in Germany, near Dusseldorf back in 1880. As a child, he was always getting sick – thanks to his asthma and rheumatic fever. This strengthened his determination to find a way to make himself strong. His first endeavour was body-building. But he was not sticking to that alone.As a physical trainer, he researched and practised various exercises – like gymnastics, yoga, martial arts, tai chi, and Zen meditation. He even tried classical exercises from the Roman and Greek regimes. He combined both Western and Eastern ideas and picked what he thought was the best when it came to both health and physical fitness. On top of all that, he also studied the human anatomy and also animal movements.
In 1912, he moved to England to become a professional boxer. He also became a skier, diver, and circus acrobat. He was credited to teach self-defense to the detectives of the Scotland Yard.
How Pilates began
The history of Pilates really started when World War I broke out. Joseph Pilates was interned by the British as a German enemy alien. During this time, he started developing body-conditioning techniques and that resulted in a new approach to exercise.
During World War I, he was also assigned as a nurse. It gave him the opportunity to help patients tone their muscles through the use of strings attached to the hospital bed. This is actually the beginnings of the Pilates reformer. The intention was to create an equipment that will speed up the process of body alignment and stretching. It was also meant to increase the core strength of a person.
Working together with Rudolph Laban, they were able to create the dance notation that served as the basic system of Pilates today.
In 1923, Joseph Pilates moved to America. In New York, he opened his first studio with his wife, Clara. It was here that his method gained popularity. Pilates became a hit with dancers like George Balanchine and Martha Graham. According to dancers, the Pilates method helped them recover from their injuries. Since it also strengthened their core, it helped prevent recurrence of the injury.
Over time, Pilates became known as a method that helps in the mental and physical conditioning of a person – to help them achieve their full potential. Before it was called “Pilates”, Joseph referred to this technique as “Contrology”.In 1970, the Pilates method returned to Britain – thanks to Alan Herdman. The London School of Contemporary Dance asked him to investigate the method and bring it back to Britain. In the same year, the first Pilates studio was opened in London.
So what do you think of the history of Pilates? Now that you know, it will give you a better appreciation of this type of exercise.