Where we come from
Pilates was created for men
Pilates inspires vitality
pilates can be all you need
Joseph Pilates was a German circus performer and boxer. Born in 1883 his ideas regarding health were largely influenced by the vigorous training methods of his time, and also the outdoors. While working in the UK war broke, and he was interred as a prisoner. It was during these years, in witnessing the hopelessness and loss of body and mind in his fellow prisoners of war, that he began to develop his series of exercises that would become the Mat component of his Contrology system of training. Understanding this basic history is important in understanding the work- above all Pilates originates from a place of vitality, or inspiring the body and mind to live.
Understanding that the method was created to inspire a will to continue living amongst interred prisoners of WW1 will give you a sense of how vital the work is. It is meaningful beyond being merely a set of exercises, or a single piece of apparatus.
After the war Joseph settled with his partner Clara in NYC, and it is here that he opened the original Contrology studio and began to develop his incredible array of apparatus. An important note here to make is that the Pilates apparatus, while offering ways to exercise the body not available in Mat work, was largely created to improve the connections of the body in the Mat exercises. This means, importantly, that there are threads that run through all the Pilates system. Therefore to experience Authentic Pilates you must be taught exercises across varied apparatus that help you, specifically, to better understand key connections in the work.
It is also important to note that nearly all contemporary Pilates equipment is not made to the exacting standards and specifications of the original designs of Joseph Pilates. This means that the client's experience is incredibly different, and in most cases diluted. The equipment does make a difference that can make or break the client's understanding of what the exercises should really feel like, and what they should help the body achieve. True Classical Pilates equipment was designed by Joseph Pilates to help draw out the fundamental principles of each exercise, not to look a certain way or to be adaptable for other uses. True Pilates studios use only apparatus that adheres to these designs and are sourced internationally from only a handful of providers. You will find only this at Proper Pilates.
It is widely thought that Pilates was developed for dancers. This is not at all accurate, and although many dancers were drawn to the original studio to rehabilitate and strengthen, the method of Contrology is open to everyone, and when applied individually to the body brings about incredible improvements in vitality.
The Pilates legacy was largely left to a group of Elders who had been given the opportunity to teach under Joe and Clara. Many moved on to develop their own adaptions of the system, largely adding to its value. Since this time, and as a consequence of the Pilates name being deemed generic, the system has exploded, however by following closely to the lessons of these original few we can still train in a manner that honours the work of the original method and studio.