Joseph Pilates 1880 – 1967

Joseph Pilates founder of Pilates as practiced at Pilates to the Core

Joseph Pilates was born in Germany. As a child he suffered from ill health, he had many complaints including asthma and rickets. However it gave him great resolve to spend his life getting stronger and fitter.

As a teenager he undertook many sports including diving, gymnastics and weight training. At the age of 32 years he moved to England and worked as a circus performer, boxer and self defence trainer.

At the onset of World War 1 he was imprisoned in a prisoner of war camp. Pilates became a nurse but also trained his fellow internees in physical fitness. After the war Pilates moved to America where he set up a fitness studio in New York and began to teach his methods to dancers, athletes and the rich of New York.

He called the moves he developed “controlology”. Although his sessions and moves varied greatly his work could be distilled into 34 basic moves.

Today his moves tend to be taught in a modified format to make them achievable for a wider audience than just his super-fit clientele.

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Jane Christie teaches Pilates in South Edinburgh.

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