Posted on: 11 March, 2020

Author: Arun SEO

A century after Joseph Pilates brought his method of exercise to the world, we traced the origins of his fascinating history, its practice, and its benefits. Pilates is a holistic method that seeks psychophysical well-being and health through the balance between mind and body. In the last decade, Pilates has become a very popular activity that helps maintain health and take care of the body. Based on the connection between body position, movement accuracy, and breathing, its main objective is to align and balance the body and mind. However, few people know that this discipline was born almost a century ago in the heart of Germany and that its existence is due to the person who gave it its name: Joseph Hubertus Pilates. Before we go on to discuss the method and the man who invented the Pilates method, let us look at some of the famous quotes of a "If at 30 you are out of shape, you are an old man. If at 60 you are flexible and strong, you are a young man."  “Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness. Our interpretation of physical fitness is the attainment and maintenance of a uniformly developed body with a sound mind fully capable of naturally, easily, and satisfactorily performing our many and varied daily tasks with spontaneous zest and pleasure.” “Contrology (Pilates) is the complete coordination of body, mind, and spirit. Through Contrology, you first purposefully acquire complete control of your own body and then through proper repetition of its exercises you gradually and progressively acquire that natural rhythm and coordination associated with all your subconscious activities.” "With 10 sessions you will notice the difference, with 20 sessions the others will notice the difference and with 30 sessions you will have a new body." The Pilates method takes its name from its creator, Joseph Hubertus Pilates. Born in Mönchengladbach in 1880, of fragile health marked by asthma, from a young age he practices regular exercise as a treatment to strengthen himself. It is a period in which the benefits of regular gymnastics begin to be recognized. From the end of the 19th century, gymnastic exercises are implemented in German school programs with the aim of improving physical fitness and increasing strength; and in countries like Sweden, gymnastic methods are developed, such as calisthenics, which seeks to encourage flexibility, the fluidity of movement, coordination, and resistance. It is in this context that the birth of the Pilates is inscribed. In 1912, Joseph Pilates moved to England, where he was surprised by the outbreak of the First World War. As a suspicious German citizen in the eyes of the British state, he is interned in a labor camp where he perfects his method of physical training. He tries it with his inmates, he practices it, he improves it. It is believed that this training program, based on exercise, diet and rest, contributed greatly to inmates being saved during the pandemic flu that hit the country in 1918. After the war, Pilates moves to the Isle of Man and uses his method in the rehabilitation of those injured during the conflict. Design beds, chairs and special furniture to perform specific exercises and improve body posture, and its benefits do not take long to become apparent. Back in Germany, he enters the world of dance with Rudolph von Laban. Thus begins the process of hybridization between the method developed until then by Pilates and the bases of dance. The Pilates method, in fact, is largely influenced by boxing, yoga, martial arts, and dancing and is enriched by the popularization of gymnastics in Germany. The close collaboration between Joseph Pilates and the world of dance will continue throughout his life, and the Pilates method will help many dancers recover from injuries. In 1926, he moved to the United States, where he founded a Studio from where he used to practice and offer his technique, which he initially called "Contrology" because of the importance attributed to control over the body, breathing, and movement. In his practice during his lifetime, Joseph Pilates published two books, Your Health (1934) and Pilates’ Return to Life through Contrology (1945), in which he explains part of the philosophy of his method. When he dies in 1967, however, the Pilates method remains almost a secret: there were a few instructors to whom Pilates himself transmitted the theoretical basis of his method. It was necessary to wait for 1980 and the publication of ‘The Pilates Method of Physical and Mental Conditioning’, and the method was popularized outside the dance environments.  Until the 80s of the last century, Pilates was a method applied mainly in the field of dance. Only since then, associations and educational centers were established in which the theoretical principles of what, until then, had been transmitted through practice were systematized. These principles were modified, expanded and adapted and, today, it continues to undergo changes. The mind that shapes the body: the 6 basic principles of Pilates The Pilates method is inspired by yoga, martial arts, gymnastics and dance, disciplines that Joseph Pilates studied and used to cultivate his Pilates method during his lifetime. These techniques are assembled on basic philosophy: the balance between the mind and the body is the key to obtaining health and happiness, which are, in short, the two main goals of the human beings. In the first conception of his method, Joseph Pilates promoted breathing control, based on abdominal inspiration and expiration and complete emptying of the lungs; and the erect posture, with the spine, stretched and the back straight. In addition, good personal hygiene was recommended, as well as the reduction of the number of clothing that the person normally wears. Pilates also recommended aerobic exercise, vigorous, since it allowed, according to him, the elimination of mental fatigue through the bloodstream.    A posteriori, the systematization of Pilates from the '80s established 6 basic principles of action: The concentration:  The Pilates practitioner should keep his focus consistent not only on the movements he performs but also on the whole of his body while performing them. The control: This principle is intimately related to concentration since when one focuses all his attention on the movement he can control it in even the smallest detail. A pilates practitioner who controls his movements gains awareness of each part of his body and is able to correct deviations, bad postures, and incorrect movements. The center: This is the key element in Pilates practice. The center refers to the area between the last rib of the ribcage and the line around the hips and includes the abdominal transverse. It works as a barycenter to control position, breathing, and movement. The fluid movement: In Pilates, there are no sharp, fast or frantic movements, on the contrary: the exercises must be performed with the smoothness and precision that the body control ensures. The precision: The concentrated mind allows the body to adapt and maintain the correct position and alignment, and guides it so that the movements are carried out in accordance with the principles of the method. Slow and synchronized breathing: Each movement in pilates is accompanied by inspirations, which are performed through the nose, and exhalations, made by the mouth, deep and total. Respiratory movements are based on the outward expansion of the rib cage during inhalation, and the complete expulsion of air retained in the lungs during exhalation. The center is activated at all times during breathing. Activation is achieved by contraction of the lower abdomen, an action that also ensures the protection of the muscles.  The specific exercises of the Pilates method are based on stretching of the limbs, extension, and flexion of the spine, controlled rotations, and balances. These are done on a mat and with the help of the accessories such as balls, elastic bands, and curlers. Pilates is a global method that provides both physical and mental benefits. It is a discipline suitable for people of all ages, including children, as long as the exercise program adapts to the specific qualities of the practitioner. The Pilates method increases flexibility and balance, reduces muscle aches and pains in the back and extremities, improves joint health, minimizes stress, and helps increase self-control during tense situations. Regular practice of Pilates improves the health of the pelvic floor, which makes it a highly recommended exercise for the elderly, during pregnancy and in postpartum recovery. It contributes to the restoration of health in bones and tissues after injuries and traumas. Not only does it effectively combat the consequences of a sedentary life, but it also increases the consciousness of one's being, favors harmony, acceptance of one's body and increased self-esteem. Source: Free Articles from I’m currently a digital marketing expert and SEO, promoting websites and online portals all over the web. I love writing and want to spend all my time researching and creating high quality content that adds value to the reader.