Pilates was created in the early 1920's by German born Joseph Pilates (1880-1967). He created a series of exercises the called the Pilates Method. An orderly in an infirmary in World War I, Pilates developed this method to help rehabilitate and strengthen soldiers returning from war. He rigged springs on hospital beds to create light resistance moves for those patients who were bed ridden.
Contrology, as he also called it, was created to promote flexibility, strength and body awareness. By making a mind body connection, the moves were to be performed with the utmost quality rather than quantity. With a background in yoga, meditation, martial arts, gymnastics and boxing, Pilates knew the importance coordinating mind body and spirit for optimal fitness.
After the War, Joseph and his wife moved to New York where they opened a Pilates studio near the New York City Ballet. He then began to work with dancers to improve their posture, flexibility, and strength. He worked with famous ballerinas such as Martina Graham and George Balanchine.
It was not until the 1990s that Pilates truly caught on with video releases by Mari Winsor - Winsor Pilates and rave reviews by celebrities. Pilates continues to gain in popularity today.
"Patience and persistence are vital qualities in the ultimate successful accomplishment of any worthwhile endeavor." -Joseph Pilates