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Pilates History

The Story of The Pilates

Whether you are a longtime Pilates practitioner or someone who wonders what this “Pilates” thing is all about, you may not be aware that before Pilates was a form of exercise, it was a person.

Who Invented Pilates? 

Pilates was created by a man named Joseph Pilates, who was born in Germany and moved to America in the 1920s. He devised the Pilates method, which was originally called 'Contrology' as a new approach to exercise and body conditioning.

The First Pilates Studio 

In 1926, Joseph and Clara Pilates set up the first Pilates studio on Eighth Avenue in New York City. A varied and diverse clientele frequented the Studio, including the elite of New York society, circus performers, gymnasts, and dancers. The dance community, in particular, were early adopters of his work, drawn by Joseph Pilates' inherent and deep understanding of the workings of the human body. Dance world luminaries such as New York City Ballet co-founder George Balanchine, and the modern dance pioneers Ted Shawn and Martha Graham, among many others, were among the first to recognize the value of his work, whether for rehabilitation or improving performance and technique.



Some of Joseph Pilates Motivation Quotes 

I love Joseph's quotes about the Pilates Method, but especially appreciate his thoughts about developing our body, mind, and spirit. Pilates is so much more than just exercise for our muscles!

“If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old.  IF it is completely flexible at 60, you are young.”


“We retire too early and we die too young, our prime of life should be in the 70’s and old age should not come until we are almost 100.”

“To achieve the highest accomplishments within the scope of our capabilities in all walks of life we must constantly strive to acquire strong, healthy bodies and develop our minds to the limits of our ability.”