Pilates is not just exercise. The very specific movements and breathing patterns require focused attention engaging both body and mind.
Joseph H. Pilates was born in Germany in 1880. As a frail child he was determined to build and strengthen his physique and so developed a lifelong interest in body conditioning. He later went on to become an accomplished diver, gymnast, and boxer.
During the First World War, as he was a German citizen, Joseph was interned in England and during that period he worked as a nurse. While tending immobilized patients, he designed exercise apparatus using springs attached to hospital beds. These machines and the exercises that he developed for them were to become the nucleus of his body conditioning method. After the war he moved to New York and opened his first "Contrology" studio there in 1926.
Over the years as the effectiveness of his exercise method became known, "Pilates" became more and more popular. Currently the "Pilates" method of exercise is used worldwide by people of all ages, sex, and fitness levels for body conditioning and rehabilitation purposes.