This body training method was developed by Joseph Pilates (1880 – 1967). He grew up in Germany, but immigrated to America in 1926 where he continued to develop his method and quickly went on to receive widespread acclaim. His book „Return to Life Through Contrology and Your Health“ (Bainbridge Books) is available in English.
Traditionally Pilates exercises are taught on a one-on-one basis. This allows the teacher to concentrate on each person and to adapt the exercises to everyone’s individual needs. The training is done on a mat or with special instruments. The method’s primary goal is to strengthen the muscles in the abdomen i.e. the region surrounding the bellybutton going down to the lower ribs, as well as the lower back, the buttocks and the pelvic ground. This allows for movement to emanate forth from a strong centre. It is not the aim to repeat movements endlessly, but to rather focus on creating an understanding of the exercise. This allows the body to react a lot faster and more intensively to the exercise. Strong emphasis is laid on coordinating the movement with the breath.
One can start doing Pilates at any age. Through regular training a more toned body with improved posture can be achieved in the long run. Muscle build-up is stimulated and deep breathing is intensified.