Although it's become increasing popular in the last 15 to 20 years, pilates has been around for a lot longer than that.
Joseph (and Clara) Pilates developed a series of 34 matwork exercises back in the 1920s which Joseph then fine-tuned while interned in England during World War 1. After the war, he moved to New York and opened a pilates studio near the New York City Ballet in 1926. (It's no wonder we often think of ballet dancers when discussing the long, lean lines of a 'pilates body'!)
Joseph's concepts centred around achieving a balanced body and mind. His book, 'Return to Life Through Contrology' was first published in 1945 and is still available for purchase today.
The Pilates Method is built on the following principles:
* Centering (i.e. activation of the core / centre of the body)
* Flow (it's not about the number of repetitions performed)
* Isolation (of the muscles required to perform the movement)
* Routine (daily practice is best).
You will hear me (and most instructors, I hope) use some of the words above several times throughout a class - reminders to focus on technique, breathing and controlling the movement.
Never tried a pilates class? I highly recommend it. Get in touch with me or find a studio / instructor near you!