Body Eclipse Pilates
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The History of Pilates

Pilates takes its name from Joseph Pilates who devised the Method as a new approach to exercise & body-conditioning.

Joseph Pilates was born near Dusseldorf in 1880. He was a frail child who was determined to make himself strong & healthy.
He researched & practised every kind of exercise he could, ranging from classical Roman & Greek exercise regimes to body-building & gymnastics, alongside the Eastern disciplines of yoga, tai chi, martial arts & Zen meditation.
He was perhaps the first influential figure to combine Western & Eastern ideas about health & physical fitness.

In 1912, he left Germany for the UK, where he became a professional boxer, an expert skier & diver, & taught self-defence to Scotland Yard detectives. On the outbreak of WWI he was interned in a POW camp in Lancashire. He used this time to start developing a new approach to exercise & body-conditioning; the start of what is now known as Pilates. Returning to Germany after WWI, Pilates worked with pioneers of movement technique such as Rudolph Laban, who created the basic system of dance notation still used today.

In 1923, Joseph Pilates emigrated to the USA, where he opened his first studio in New York, along with Clara, his wife & assistant.
His Method was an instant hit, particularly among dancers such as Martha Graham & George Balanchine.

Body Eclipse Pilates Evesham WR11In his lifetime Joseph Pilates published two books :
 Your Health (1934) & Return to Life through Contrology (1945).
Joseph continued to teach Pilates until his death, at the age of 83, in 1967.
The Pilates Method did not return to the UK until 1970, when it was brought back by
Alan Herdman. However, Pilates remained essentially unknown to the general public, 
until 1995 with the advent of Body Control Pilates.

Pilates today is taught in several forms, directly reflecting the legacy of Joseph Pilates.
He did not lay down a formal training programme, with the result that, his 'disciples' continued teaching by adding their own variations to the core principles & philosophy.
These first generation teachers, include Mary Bowen & Lolita San Miguel.

This flexibility in approach is one of the reasons why Pilates has been so successful.