History of Pilates:
Pilates was a sickly child who dedicated his life to improving his physical strength. An avid gymnast, diver, and bodybuilder, he moved from Germany to England in 1912 and earned a living as a professional boxer, circus performer, and self-defense trainer at police schools and Scotland Yard. British authorities interned him during WWI (in a concentration camp on the Isle of Man), where he began to intensively develop his concept of an integrated, comprehensive system of physical exercise. He studied yoga, and the movements of animals, and trained his fellow inmates in fitness and exercises. These inmates are said to have survived the great pandemic of 1918 due to their physical shape. After the war, he returned to Germany and collaborated with experts in dance and physical exercise such as Rudolf Laban. When pressured to train members of the German army, he left Germany, disappointed with its political and social conditions, and emigrated to NY where he met his wife & co-collaborator, Clara, and they started their own studio.
He came to believe that the “modern” lifestyle, bad posture, and inefficient breathing lay at the roots of poor health, so he ultimately wrote a manifesto, devised a set series of exercises and training-techniques, engineered all of the equipment, specifications, and tuning required to teach and practice his methods in a codified manner.