Updated: Nov 16
Pilates is a muscle-strengthening technique for everyone, invented by Joseph Pilates. The Pilates method comprises over 500 exercises that combine breathing with movement, and can be performed on the floor or on specialized equipment. It is one of the few gymnastics techniques to combine the benefits of Eastern methods (breathing and breath control, flexibility, concentration) with those of Western methods (strength and endurance).
"After 10 sessions, you feel the difference.
After 20 sessions, you see the difference.
And after 30 sessions, you have a whole new body."
Who was Joseph Pilates?
The Pilates method takes its name from its creator, Joseph Hubertus Pilates, born in Düsseldorf in 1883. A frail child suffering from asthma and acute rheumatoid arthritis, he devoted his life to improving his own physical strength. Early on, he developed a passion for the study of anatomy, movement and the martial arts, and soon became an accomplished athlete, practicing numerous sports to forge a perfect body.
He was convinced that every human being was born with a universal right - the right to stay healthy. Based on this conviction, he developed a complete repertoire of over 500 specific movements designed to "rejuvenate" and soften the spine and joints.
Why is Pilates done on machines?
In 1912, at the age of 32, Joseph Pilates left Germany for this country, where he became a professional boxer. An expert skier and diver, it was in England that he taught self-defense to Scotland Yard detectives and found work as a circus acrobat.
At the outbreak of the First World War, the British interned Joseph Pilates as a German enemy alien. He used his time as an internee to begin developing a new approach to exercise and fitness - the beginning of what is known today as Pilates.
During his internment, he also had the chance to work as a nurse. This, in turn, gave him the opportunity to experiment with attaching springs to hospital beds, so that patients could start toning their muscles even while still bedridden. These were the origins of the first Pilates machines, known today as the Pilates Reformer. In its earliest incarnation, the Pilates Reformer was shaped like a sliding bed and used springs as resistance.
In 1923, Pilates moved to America. He opened his first studio in New York with Clara, his wife and assistant, whom he had met while crossing the Atlantic.
His new method was an instant success, particularly with dancers such as Martha Graham and George Balanchine. Other dancers also became adepts. They found Pilates the best way to recover from injuries and prevent their recurrence. Gradually, a wider public began to hear about it.
Pilates called his technique "Controlology" - it was only later that it became known by its own surname. He conceived it as mental and physical conditioning in which individuals could work their bodies to their full potential.
What are the benefits of Pilates?
Correct and improve posture by firming and toning the muscles of the abdomen, buttocks, pelvis and back to maintain the whole body correctly;
Relax stiff muscle groups (neck, shoulders, back), tone relaxed muscle groups (abdominals, buttocks) to balance muscles and eliminate tension;
Eliminate stress with a breathing technique that brings a sense of well-being with every session;
Develop awareness of the way your body works to optimize the efficiency of your movements;
Prevent injuries caused by poor posture (back pain, etc.).
A beautiful posture, a refined silhouette, a more supple and stronger body, with uniform musculature: that's what Pilates is all about!
In conclusion, Pilates is a holistic approach to fitness that promotes physical and mental well-being through exercises that strengthen the body in a balanced and harmonious way. Pilates can be practised on a mat or on specific equipment, such as the Reformer. It can be adapted to different fitness levels and ages, making it a method accessible to almost everyone.
At Time2Pilates, we offer private and group Pilates sessions with machines and small equipment. Pilates sessions are available in English, French, German or Luxembourgish. Get started now!