Well, maybe not the whole world, but the popularity of the Pilates method has definitely taken large parts of the world by storm.
Pilates – a method of physical exercise aiming at a new balance between strength and flexibility, establishing a state of harmony and health.
The Pilates Method aims its work at the infrastructure of the human body by activating core muscles located in the abdomen, thus giving the limbs a better range and freedom of movement. Work in the Pilates Method is done inside out, establishing inner strength, and developing the body’s foundations while maintaining balance.
As apposed to “no pain, no gain” based methods, Pilates exercises are done in a moderate way, preferring quality and directed movement over quantity together with coordination of breathing.
Joseph Hubertus Pilates (1880-1967), a frail child plagued by asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever, developed in his youth the wish for a healthy, strong, physically attractive body. During the years, Pilates achieved some success as a boxer and a gymnast in addition to being a skilled skier and diver.
Instead of torturing himself in gymnastics halls and weight lifting caves, he experimented with a few eastern and western forms of exercise such as yoga, martial Arts, ancient Greek and Roman regimens, dance, circus acrobatics and more, searching for a combination of the ancient Greek model of ideal physique and the eastern way of self cultivation.
Being a German national in England at the outbreak of World War I, Pilates was incarcerated as an “enemy alien” in Lancaster. Even prison didn’t reduse his enthusiasm for good health. Wanting others to feel as great as he did, Pilates taught his fellow inmates his exercises. Seeing his success, authorities sent Pilates to work as a nurse, caring for rehabilitation of soldiers suffering from war injuries. Since most patients could not get up from bed, Pilates used bedsprings attached to the walls supplying muscle resistance. That was the actual birth of famous Pilates devices known today as “Cadillac” and “Reformer”.