Joseph Hubertus Pilates was born on December 9, 1883 in Mönchengladbach (near Düsseldorf), Germany. His father, a native of Greece, had been a prize-winning gymnast, while his German-born mother was a naturopath who believed in the principle of stimulating the body to heal itself without artificial drugs.
Looking at the roots of his upbringing, Joseph Pilates put together what he learned from both parents and developed a system of exercises, which keeps the body fit like a gymnast and at the same time will heal the body in a natural way to restore the best possible health, fighting bad posture, age, or any injury caused restrictions of movements people are challenged with. He was a genius when it comes to understanding movement within the human body and how to work the human body to achieve correct posture, alignment and balance it all with strength and flexibility.
Joseph Pilates called his method “Contrology,” which today is known as pilates. Over the years a clear differentiation developed between two types of pilates – classical and contemporary. Classical pilates most closely follows Joseph Pilates’ original method and contemporary pilates includes non-pilates exercises in the routine, as well as equipment built to satisfy a more general ideology. At The Hundred & More we teach classical pilates, which adheres closely to the Contrology Form, with an order for the mat and the reformer. By staying within the order of the exercises, the body warms up, strengthens, and gains more mobility as we move through the routine. Through repeated practice we can achieve these goals, which are considered the six principles of pilates:
To help his clients achieve greater overall mobility, while keeping control of one’s center, Joseph Pilates developed equipment such as the Cadillac, Wunda Chair, High Chair, Spine Corrector, Half Barrel, Ladder Barrel, Pedi Pole, and the Guillotine. He went one step further, recognizing the role of the feet in balance and stability, he built a Foot Corrector (his first patented equipment piece), as well as a Toe Corrector. To help his clients strengthen the shoulder girdle and find the back connection, he produced the “ Magic Circle.” To develop more strength and depth while breathing, he came up with a piece called the Breathalyser. Putting all the pieces together, classical pilates training challenges every body part and uses every muscle during the workout, including the brain which we need for memorization.
“Contrology develops the body uniformly, corrects wrong postures, restores physical vitality, invigorates the mind, and elevates the spirit.”