What is Pilates

Joseph H. Pilates

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 About the Pilates technique

The Pilates technique is an exercise program used to maintain and enhance very good levels of physical fitness and improve posture alignment enabling the body to respond effectively to daily tasks and chores.

Pilates which was developed in the 1920’s, combines influences from Eastern philosophy and exercise practice methods of the West. It is a suitable exercise program for everyone regardless of age, size, weight, or physical condition, even for those who have not previously followed any exercise program in the past.

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Pilates works and stretches body muscles, improves flexibility and body balance, strengthens the deep postural muscles that support the neutral alignment of the spine, which is reinforced by the activation of the abdominal muscles, that direct the various movements of the whole body and every single part of it. During training, great emphasis is given to breathing, concentration of thought, recognizing the full potential of the body as well as possible weaknesses and enables us to address them, tackle them and work on them to restore and improve the body creating overall balance.

Pilates does not only exercise all separate muscles, but it also shapes up the body and makes it stronger and firmer.

The basic principle of Pilates exercises is that they are not standardized. The program of exercises is adapted to each individual's needs and is related to the person’s age, body shape and size, capabilities and physical condition.


 Joseph H. Pilates

Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1880. He had a weak health as a child and suffered from many illnesses and conditions such as asthma, rachitis and rheumatic fever. In order to overcome his health problems, he organized and followed a rigorous exercise program using elements of various methods, which helped him gain body strength and flexibility, restoring his natural body condition.

During the First World War, while he was at a military camp, he came up with a fitness program tailored to the needs of the wounded. So he began experimenting with available materials -such as bed springs- creating support mechanisms with which the patients would be able to exercise, while lying on their beds.

After the war he left Germany and arrived in New York, where he founded the first Pilates Studio. Soon many artists and dancers such as Martha Graham and George Balanchine, emerge as great followers and supporters of the Pilates’ Technique incorporating it all or a variety of its technical exercises in their own lessons.