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What is Pilates?

"Pilates is complete coordination of body, mind and spirit"

Joseph Pilates

Pilates is a method of exercising using principles and exercises designed by Joseph Pilates pictured above working with a client in his studio.

Joseph Pilates was born near Dusseldorf, Germany in 1883.

His father was an amateur gymnast and his mother a naturopath.  As a young child Pilates was interested in how the body worked and when a physician gave him an old anatomy book, he learnt every page of how the body worked.


Joseph studied a range of exercise formats including yoga and by the age of 14 he had developed his own body to the point that he was modelling for anatomy charts.


In 1912 Pilates lived in England working as a circus performer with his brother Fred, they were apparently performing an act as Greek statues he also furthered his training as a boxer and self-defence instructor. 


During the First World War, he was interned with other German nationals to the Isle of man.  It was during his time as an intern he developed his technique of physical fitness by teaching his fellow internees wrestling, self defence and a range of other exercises that later become his exercise method “Contrology” later known as Pilates.

During the latter part of the war, he served as an orderly in a hospital where he worked with patients with reduced mobility and with wartime disease.  It is believed this is where he began his ideas for the Pilates equipment as he engineered ways to encourage these patients to exercise.  

In the early 1920s Pilates emigrated to the USA with his wife Clara and together they developed and taught their method of body conditioning in New York in 1926.  Their studio featured much of the Pilates Equipment created and designed by Pilates to provided rehabilitation for the dance community who turned to him for exercises to support recovery from injury.

In 1934 Pilates published a booklet called “Your Health” and this was followed with another called “return to Life through Contrology”.  He continued to work with clients and began to train other teachers in his method of exercise, these are known as the “Pilates Elders”, those who trained directly with Pilates and Clara.

In 1966 there was a fire in the building where Joe’s studio was situated, it is said that he tried to enter the burning building to save his studio and equipment and there are links between this and his death in 1967 at the age of 83, possibly from smoke inhalation or an injury caused by entering the building.  Clara continue to run the studio after Joe’s death and she passed away in 1977. 

What is Pilates: About Us
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The Pilates Equipment

The full Pilates Method incorporates a range of equipment also called the Pilates Apparatus, these include:

The Reformer

The Cadillac (also known as the Trapeze table)

Various chairs, most used is the wunda chair

A variety of barrels, mostly used is the ladder barrel

And the spine corrector

At Green Pilates we are very lucky to have a classical Balanced Body reformer with a wonderful history from a famous Ballet school and a classical Balanced Body Wunda Chair.

We offer a 25 minute taster session and 50 minute sessions either one to one or a duet.

Please contact us if you would like to book a session.

Our price list is also attached.

What is Pilates: Welcome
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