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Pilates - Ireland
What is Pilates?
Pilates is a method of exercise that was invented by Joseph Pilates from Germany. Pilates stresses the importance of balanced development of the body through core strength, suppleness, flexibility, and consciousness to promote efficient and graceful body movement.
Approximately one hundred years ago the began in Mönchengladbach, near Dusseldorf in Germany. A delicate boy called Joseph Pilates took up a physical fitness regime in order to improve his strength and health. At the time he was often sick and was believed to be prone to tuberculosis. By the time he had turned 14 his health and general physical condition had improved to such an extent he was modelling for anatomical drawings.
Joseph Pilates went on to become an ardent sportsman partaking in such diverse activities as diving, boxing, gymnastics, skiing and even working as a circus performer. Pilates developed what he called 'muscle contrology' while interned in the UK during the first World War. His target with his fitness method was to bring about complete co-ordination of body, mind, and spirit by working with - and not on or against - the muscles of the body.
Pilates Studio in New York
Joseph Pilates moved to New York following the end of the war and opened a studio in New York. The Pilates Method was an instant success particularly with dancers. Up until relatively recently Pilates remained something of a secret within the dancing community. In recent years Pilates has become more mainstream with actors, athletes and the general public.
Original Pilates Method
Joseph Pilates' early work concentrated largely upon rehabilitating sick or damaged people. When Pilates was in internment in England he worked as a nurse. He experimented with the uses of bed springs to help patients to improve their muscle tone even while they were bed-bound. The centrepiece of the Pilates Method was the use of springs as resistance.
Joseph created a machine called the Universal Reformer, which was a sliding horizontal bed using up to four springs depending upon the particular exercise and the strength and needs of the individual. Using the Universal Reformer exercises such pliés can be executed without any stress on the joints. This is very beneficial for people with joint damage or injuries.
In his New York Pilates also developed other machines that have been modified and adapted throughout the Pilates community. Other forms of Pilates that do not make use of machines have been developed and are very popular also.
Joseph Pilates Philosophy
"Physical fitness is the first prerequisite of happiness"
Irish Pilates Practitioners
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