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Joseph H.Pilates

Joseph Pilates was born on December 9, 1883 in Mönchengladbach (Germany).   Suffering from asthma and a chest malformation, he struggled all his life against these obstacles in order to achieve a satisfactory state of health.   His efforts were crowned with success – he became an accomplished sportsman practicing gymnastics, boxing, diving, skiing and yoga.


During the First World War, he invented a system of springs to be placed above hospital beds allowing patients to rehabilitate while remaining in bed. This principle is the basis of the machine he invented later – the “ Cadillac ” – device which is still today the most used in the Pilates method.

Joseph Pilates emigrated to New York in 1923 . Drawing on his personal experience, he opened a studio dedicated to the rehabilitation of professional dancers. Illustrious figures such as the choreographer George Balanchine and the dancer Martha Graham are among his first disciples.

Joseph Pilates developed a set of floor exercises that he grouped together under the name of “ Contrologie ” (“ Contrology ”), renamed “the Pilates method” for several decades. These exercises were designed to strengthen the core and improve overall body control . He also invented several devices to further improve the results of his exercises.
Joseph Pilates left few writings – there are two: Your Health: A Corrective System of Exercising that Revolutionizes the Entire Physical Education  (1934) and_cc781905-5cde -3194-bb3b-136bad5cf58d_ Return to Life Through Contrology  (1945).
We find in these two works the author's insistence on harmony between body and mind as a sine qua non of health .
It is mainly by oral transmission and thanks to the universal truth of his conception of the body that the teachings of Joseph Pilates were able to travel through the generations and know the success that is theirs today.

Joseph Pilates died on October 9, 1967 in New York.


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