What is Pilates?
Pilates is a form of exercise that emphasises core strength, slow movements, breath control, muscle tone, and balance. It’s a body-and-mind approach to fitness that’s been credited with helping to lower stress level and improve mental wellbeing.
The NHS recommend Pilates as an effective approach to getting fitter and improving your mental health and resilience.
Those of you who are familiar with Pilates already will recognise our techniques, which are based on the fantastic tradition of Pilates.
If you’re not yet familiar with Pilates, read on to find out a bit more about its history and principles, and how you can enjoy our classes no matter what your age, gender, or physical abilities.
Pilates is for everybody and we hope to see you at a class very soon!
History of Pilates
Pilates was first developed by German Joseph Pilates. He originally named the practice “Contrology”, because of the emphasis on performing the movements with a high level of control.
Pilates was born in Germany in 1883, and by all accounts suffered from a number of childhood ailments. It was a determination to overcome these, and master his own body that led him towards a life of physical activity. In his early career he worked as a circus performer, and boxer and was also an excellent skier and gymnast.
During the First World War, while interned in England, he ended up working with patients whose injuries impacted their ability to walk. During this time, he developed many of the famous Pilates techniques for injury rehabilitation. He would attach bed springs, strings and towels to the patients’ beds, attaching their limbs to these and encourage them to make gentle, assisted movements to redevelop muscle tone and control.
After the war, Pilates took his techniques to America and opened a gym next door to the New York School of Ballet. This became very popular with dancers, actors, and celebrities of the day. From there, Contrology’s fame spread around the world, and after his death in 1967, became known as the Pilates method.
Many of the practices, movements and principles of Pilates have remained the same since they were invented.