Who was Joseph Pilates?
Born in Germany in 1880, Joseph H. Pilates had a lifelong interest in body conditioning. As a frail child dedicated to becoming stronger, he later grew to become an accomplished skier, diver, gymnast, boxer and martial artist. Components of these disciplines can be seen in different Pilates exercises.
While interned in England during World War I for his German citizenship, Joseph became a nurse. During this time, he designed exercise apparatus for immobilized patients by attaching springs to hospital beds. This system formed the foundation for his style of body conditioning and specialized exercise apparatus, which he brought to New York City when he opened the first Pilates studio in 1926.
The Pilates Method is presently practiced world wide by individuals at all levels of fitness as well as by dance companies, Broadway shows, students at performing arts schools and universities, sports teams, spa clients and fitness enthusiasts at private health clubs and gyms.
Nature has endowed human beings with a backbone, but few realize that state of perfection in which this “ridgepole” of the human “house” may properly grow into normal, straight form as nature intended. Even fewer understand the mechanism of the spine and proper methods of training this foundation of the body.
“Our bodies are the most fantastic design conceived and when we move the body in water or in the air in suspension, we realign particular meridians with gravity and they set themselves correctly. This is a phenomenon but it works,” says Gravity Master Yogi Zen.
Yoga has been practised in the East for thousands of years and more recently the benefits of yoga have been recognised by the West – an improved quality of life physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
In India, B.K.S. Iyengar masterminded the techniques now known as “Iyengar Yoga”, which is followed by certified teachers and taught throughout the world. As these techniques can be used by all practitioners of yoga, Iyengar has made it possible for ordinary human beings to experience the wisdom of the yoga sutras.
Iyengar Yoga is a way of life and regular practice integrates the body, mind and emotions. The use of props such as the Yoga Swing, which originated from Iyengar, helps you the practitioner to achieve perfection in any yoga posture (asana).
Our suspension system takes the theories of Pilates much deeper. I believe that Joseph Pilates had the right ideas, but we have taken it the direction where he may have ventured. I believe that if he were alive today, he would be using the swing himself!