I have not once told the story of the origins of Pilates to a group of Pilates clients without them being surprised by the facts and even surprised that it was Joseph Pilates existed. It never ceases to amaze me that the credit is not given to Joseph and Clara Pilates, a husband and wife team who were ahead of their time and have revolutionized the way that we exercise today. What is even worse is that their system is rarely explained starting with the basic guiding principles of Breathing, Centering, Control, Concentration, Flow and Precision. I will be putting up future blogs about these in the upcoming weeks.
With that said, I felt that it is important that our first blog on our site tell a bit about the 'Origins of Pilates' the 'Art of Contrology'. Without reinventing the wheel, I am thankful to site some basic information from the PMA at www.pilatesmethodalliance.org : Around 1914, Joseph Pilates was a performer and a boxer living in England, and at the outbreak of WWI, was placed under forced internment along with other German nationals in Lancaster, England. There he taught fellow camp members the concepts and exercises developed over 20 years of self-study and apprenticeship in Yoga, Zen, and ancient Greek and Roman physical regimens. It was at this time that he began devising the system of original exercises known today as "matwork," or exercises done on the floor. He called this regimen "Contrology," meaning 'the science of control'. A few years later, he was transferred to another camp on the Isle of Man, where he became a nurse/caretaker to the many internees struck with wartime disease and physical injury. Here, he began devising equipment to rehabilitate his "patients," taking springs from the beds and rigging them to create spring resistance and "movement" for the bedridden.
For further reading and indepth facts about the Pilates System you can also go into further reading here: http://www.pilates.com/BBAPP/V/pilates/origins-of-pilates.html