Joseph and Clara Pilates
It is very important that we share with you the history and work of Joseph “Joe” and Clara Pilates. We need to give credit where it is due. While we respect “classical” Pilates work and philosophy, we practice a Pilates-based approach that is different from Pilates in a popular form, and work from an expanded knowledge base. We are fortunate to have teachers trained by Joseph Pilates who have passed on knowledge and experience, and further descendants who have added variations to the original repertoire that enhance the intended benefit of Pilates, to work toward a balance in body, mind and spirit. Currently, clinical research is being performed to validate the functionally relevant expertise of our Doctor of Physical Therapy / Pilates Rehabilitation Practitioner. We blend the overall goals of Joseph and Clara Pilates with the knowledge and skills of today to provide clients with an excellent student & practitioner relationship.
Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1883. As a child, he suffered a variety of physical ailments, and he strived to improve his quality of life and physical strength with the help of his father. In 1912, he moved to England and became a professional boxer, circus performer and self-defense trainer.
During World War I, Pilates was sent to internment camps in Lancaster Castle and the Isle of Man, where he put his knowledge, understanding and skills to use. He worked with other internees and continued to develop a comprehensive system of exercise he named “Contrology”. Through many years of working with a variety of “trainees” he developed ways in which to help them perform his exercises, and through this experience he innovated the Pilates apparatus.
Joseph Pilates emigrated to the United States in the mid 1920’s, and, on the voyage, met a nurse named Clara, who soon after became his wife. Together, they opened a fitness studio on 8th Avenue in New York, which happened to share an address with the New York City Ballet and, together, Joe and Clara developed a devoted dance and performing artist following. Joe and Clara continued to teach into their elder ages, and left a wealth of knowledge to their students, who continue to pass down knowledge to us.
Original publications of Joseph H. Pilates are available:
Return to Life Through Contrology, by Joseph H. Pilates and William John Miller - Originally published in 1945
Your Health, by Joseph H. Pilates - Originally published in 1934