History of Pilates

Joseph Pilates, born in Germany in 1880, was a pioneer in exercise and physical education. Devoting his life to the study of different training methods, he developed his own innovative system that he continued to refine and teach until his death in 1967.

During WW1 Joseph Pilates was interned in the Isle of Man where he worked with injured German nationals. Optimising the available resources and using hospital beds and bedsprings, Joseph started devising his system of exercises that would later become known as Contrology.

After the war, Joseph moved to New York to establish a studio with his wife, Clara. Attracting dancers and choreographers, the studio became a hub of activity during the 1930s and 40’s. Since his death, Joseph Pilates’ technique has continued to evolve. It is now widely recognized amongst medical professionals and the health industry for its remedial effects and its role in healthy living.

* Images from Pilates' Return to Life through Contrology, Joseph Pilates, William Miller and Pilates Body in Motion, Alycea Ungaro (I.C. Rapoport).