Pilates History

A Brief Pilates History

Jospeh Pilates“Physical Fitness is the first requisite of happiness”  – Joseph H. Pilates 

Pilates is acclaimed as ‘the fastest growing exercise technique worldwide’. It was once a well-kept secret by celebrities such as Madonna and Courtney Cox, but now health professionals and the general public worldwide are committing to what is being termed a more ‘mindful’ and ‘intelligent’ exercise approach.

Pilates is a mind body conditioning exercise program that targets the deep postural muscles of the abdomen and spine to improve overall central core stability and posture. The mind and body are brought together to achieve these aims through the following eight sound principles: concentration, centering, breathing, isolation, routine, precision, control and flowing movement.  The Pilates Method originates from the late Joseph Pilates, born in Germany in 1883. Joseph suffered from many illnesses as a child and so as he grew older he dedicated his life to improving his physical fitness. Whilst he began by studying a range of disciplines he eventually devised his own fitness program. It was during World War 1 that Joseph was able to further develop his fitness program which he delivered to his fellow internees.

When Joseph returned to Germany he collaborated with many dancers, including Rudoph von Laban the originator of ‘Labanotation’. Joseph also started teacheing the Hamburg police self-defence. He later emigrated to the United States of America, and met Clara, whom he later married and opened his first fitness studio in New York, an address that they shared with the New York City Ballet. The studio attracted leading ballet dancers who realised that Joseph’s exercises perfected and complemented their traditional exercise program. Josephs soon began instructing actors, sportspersons and the ‘elite’ of New York, who were attracted to his fitness program that built strength, flexibility and balance.

As Joseph did not develop a formal training program, after his death his ‘disciples’ continued to teach his program adding their own variations to his core philosophy. This method has continued and Pilates is now taught in several forms today, one of the most successful being the APPI Pilates Method (Australian Physiotherapy & Pilates Institute).

Designed by Physiotherapists, the APPI Pilates Method developed and modified Joseph Pilates’ original movements so that they can be applied to the clinical environment. APPI Pilates courses are delivered across 15 countries around the globe, including Australia. View our Australian APPI Pilates course dates here.

Patience and persistence are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor”
– Joseph H. Pilates
Contrology develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind, and elevates the spirit” – Joseph H. Pilates
In ten sessions you will feel the difference, in twenty you will see the difference and in thirty you’ll have a whole new body
 – Joseph H. Pilates