We tell you everything about this increasingly popular method…
Pilates has established itself as an effective way to soothe the ailments of modern life.
In this article, we will discuss the method and its icredible history.
Pilates much more than a story: Here is the genesis
Why is it called Pilates, you might ask me? It is difficult to quickly summarize the life of this man, as there is so much to say.
Joseph Pilates was born on December 9, 1883, in Mönchengladbach, near Düsseldorf, Germany. As a child, Joseph Pilates suffered from rickets, asthma, and acute rheumatic fever, causing retarded bone growth. So many problems, which would give him an exceptional determination and the desire to strengthen and surpass himself physically. Under the influence of pure will to overcome his physical condition, he became an accomplished sportsman by becoming a skilled skier, diver and gymnast, and also developed passions for yoga, dance and boxing. At the age of 32, he moved to England, where he became a professional boxer, circus artist, and where he taught self-defense techniques to police officers.
When the First World War broke out in 1914, he was taken prisoner on British soil in a concentration camp on the Isle of Wight. He then became the sports coach of his fellow prisoners and developed basic exercises that everyone can do.
He took the opportunity to create a new form of gymnastics and perfect it over the years, which would later become known as the Pilates method.
A few years later, he left to live the American dream. Emigrating to New York in 1925, he opened his studio to train and re-educate professional dancers. The center very quickly attracted dancers and sportsmen, as well as actors. Crowned with a certain reputation, Pilates perfected and patented his machines: Cadillac, Reformer, Barrel to name only 3 of the most famous.
In 1934, Pilates published a book called Your Health, a manifesto to his glory, which exposed the superiority of his method and emphasized modern ailments such as back pain and heart problems, pointing to them as the scourges of Twentieth century…. A bit visionary, that Mr Pilates!
What is Pilates?
The Pilates method is a global approach to the body, intended to "develop the body in a harmonious way, correct bad postures, and bring well-being to the body".
The idea is to improve gravity by stretching. It is a gentle method of muscle building. Pilates is, in a way, a perfect mix between working on deep and postural muscles and breathing exercises, inspired by yoga. The method emphasizes the idea of the balance of forces that apply in the body.
Pilates aims to develop the body in a harmonious way, correct bad postures, restore physical vitality, and stimulate the mind and the student.
Pilates doesn't just relieve back pain. This method brings well-being and benefits on several levels and does this quickly. Many people have improved their physical shape. This is one of the reasons why so many athletes, like golfer Tiger Woods, and many artists, including Martha Graham and Madonna, have adopted it. However, by now you will have understood that Pilates is not only reserved for Madonna… It is suitable for everyone.
In Mind and Body mode!
The actions of Pilates are not only limited to bneficial effects on your body. At a psychological level, Pilates represents a precious help that also strengthens and relaxes your mind. But be careful that we understand each other properly, it is not meditation. Pilates also invites us to adjust our breath to the movements. It is a sport that optimizes the oxygen supply to the blood, which is ideal at this time, when the regular wearing of a mask can promote permanent hypoxia. Still, it is more physical than mental work, although there is a big part of awareness of ourselves and our bodies, as well as our breathing. It is very obvious that our mind being solicited on the influence of our body, relieves the spirit of all external thought.
"The spirit, when inhabiting a healthy body, possesses a glorious sense of power." Joseph Pilates
How to choose your Pilates teacher?
It is also important to choose your teacher carefully. Since Pilates is considered a form of therapeutic exercise, the instructor must have good anatomical knowledge and training recognized by the method's watchdog, if there is one in your country.
In many countries, the discipline has met with growing success in recent years. In most countries, no official body recognized by the State accredits Pilates teachers nor do they set a required minimum number of hours of practice. Yet in most countries, a directory of practitioners who are professionally certified by the Pilates Federation is online. Generally, teachers are former dancers or gymnasts who have practiced Pilates for a long time during their training. However, the Pilates which is taught according to the method of its creator, is very often taught by teachers who have followed the Romana training, named after Pilates’ heiress.
Good to know: Osteopaths and physiotherapists recommend the Pilates method as one of the safest forms of exercise in the world.
Nowadays, the Pilates method is integrated into the rehabilitation of dancers or for athletes suffering from complications during training, but it is also used by doctors for the rehabilitation of injuries, people with fibromyalgia and various other ailments.