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What is Pilates?

What is Pilates

Pilates is a ‘who’ and a ‘what’. The exercise technique called Pilates is named after the man Joseph Pilates.  

Joe was a practical genius, an inventor and an outstanding teacher who had a big effect on the world of physical fitness training and exercise. His Pilates classes are now taught all over the world, which was his dream. We have Pilates mat work in almost every suburb and many places are lucky enough to have a Pilates Studio too, we have Turning Tide Studio in Titirangi. 

Joe faced adversity several times in his life. Born in Germany in 1883, Joe was an unhealthy child. He suffered from rheumatic fever, asthma and rickets. He was small, thin and underdeveloped. Joe decided early on to change his life. He studied health and fitness, took up gymnastics and boxing. He learnt anatomy. He watched his pet cat and also analysed the way babies move. He often said later that he based Pilates on the cat and the baby. From late childhood and into his teenage years Joe practiced exercises to change his bad health and weak physicality. By his 20’s he was transformed, now fit, strong and healthy with powerful muscles and powerful confidence.

The Pilates Method (called Contrology by Joe) came from many different health and fitness approaches including self-defence, body building, and athletics. He took from all these. Pilates was pushed forward by a twist of fate that found Joe imprisoned during the First World War. Joe’s most famous invention the “Universal Reformer” a piece of fitness equipment he created when, as a prisoner of war, working in the camp hospital, using bed springs and bed frames Joe taught rehabilitation and fitness routines to the injured, the bed bound and other prisoners with amazing results. Today you will find “Reformers” in every Pilates Studio and experience their therapeutic power when you sign up for classes.


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