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"If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old. IF it is completely flexible at 60, you are young."

– Joseph Pilates


Joseph Pilates was born to a mother who was a “Naturopath” near Dusseldorf, Germany in 1883. He was a poorly child and was bullied by other children.


Pilates was enamoured of the classical Greek ideal of a man who is balanced equally in body, mind, and spirit. His experiences taught him to believe that the modern life-style, bad posture, and inefficient breathing were the roots of poor health.


His answer to these problems was to design a unique series of life enhancing physical exercises that help to correct muscular imbalances and improve posture, coordination, balance, strength, and flexibility, as well as to increase breathing capacity and organ function.


In his journey to design these physical exercises he devoured anatomy books and learnt about and took part in Yoga, Horse Riding, Martial Arts, Swimming, Boxing to name but a few physical activities.


In the early 20th Century he started to design equipment to promote these exercises, some of his early designs he used with injured soldiers during WWI.


After practising in Germany at the end of the war he moved to the USA in 1933 and en route met Clara who was to become his second wife and worked and promoted his work until her death in the 1970s.    

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Upon arriving in New York City he opened up his first Studio and soon he work became an intrinsic part of the rehabilitation of the professional dancers who trained in the Studios nearby.


Interest in his work grew and he trained several ballet dancers to become teachers of his work to take his work outside of New York City. It wasn’t until the late 1980s that Pilates as an exercise regime really started to boom and now it is known worldwide to be an excellent way to restore strength and flexibility.  


Apart from the equipment and the studio work he also created a 34 exercise mat work regime which he advocated that if you did everyday for three weeks you would have a completely different body – and so you might as his work ensures that you are working muscles over their longer range and by “finding the stretch”.


Pilates is recommended by Health Practitioners to anyone who suffers from a bad back and needs to strengthen their spine and to re-connect their mind and body.  


It is different from Yoga as a lot of the exercises are performed when you are supine on the ground, although the more you practise it the more you work higher UP from the ground.  It certainly has more of an emphasis on spinal flexion than Yoga.


Here at Santosha Studio, the Pilates taught is based on Pilates original work and we teach his 34 mat work exercises.  

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