The Pilates method is a trainingprogram, thaught and conceived by the founder J.H. Pilates (1880-1967) in order to stretch and strainghten the muscles. It is a complete balanced training that enhances your flexibility, coordination, strenght and tone. After a pilates session you will feel refreshed and energetic.
Pilates in 3 words: strength, stretch and control.
This method became more popular over the years. The goal of this complete trainingprogram which includes more than 500 exercises is to bring body and mind in harmony.
The art of control
The control initiate from what he used to call the "Powerhouse" or the "Belt" around the abdominal area, gluteus muscles, innerthighs and the lower back region. Joseph Pilates learned all kind of sport and bodytraining from the east (martial arts- yoga) and from the west (boxing, skiing, diving). He developed than a concept of a complete control of the body with a major flexibility of the vertebral column and fluid armonised movements.
Regarding the spinal column with which are associeted practically all the major activities of our body, the science of contrology disproves that prevalent saying "you are just as old as you feel". Specifically , the art of contrology proves that the only real guide to your true age lies not in years or how you think you feel but as you actually are as infallibly indicated by the degree of natural and normal flexibility enjoyed by your spine throughout life. If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old, if it is completely flexible at 60, you are young (Pilates- Return to life through Contrology , published in 1945).
The benefits of the method depend solely upon your performing the exercises exactly according to instructions and not otherwise. Remember, too, that "Rome was not built in a day"(Return to life ).
If you exercise with patience and persistence , you will refresh your all body, improve your posture and will generally help till old age to be healthy. When you perform an exercise it is important how you do it and not how often you do it (quality over quantity) , in other words: work your mind!
While you exercise, you will find out, that a correct posture and the concentration on the powerhouse will make the rest of the body (the extremities) move freely. If you keep strainghten your body and your powerhouse your vertebral column will be always support and your posture will improve.
As soon as you will feel more confident in performing the exercises and in using the apparatus , you will found out that you will be able to execute them more precisely and with the minimum of energy.
As far as your concentration increases , the better results you will attained in terms of strenght , stretch and balanced body , mind and spirit.
The strenght from every exercises comes from the center of your body, which J. Pilates use to call the "powerhouse" or "the belt" around your abdominal area, gluteus muscles, innerthights and lower back region.
The breathing is a fundamental principle in pilates and should follow naturally with movement. Is the action of "rolling" and "unrolling" your spine that cleanses your lungs so effectively by driving out the impure air and forcing in the pure air. Circulation of the blood will improve so that the bloodstream can and will carry more and better blood to feed every fibre and tissue of your body. The entire body will abundantly be charged with fresh oxygen.
"Sqeeze every atom of impure air from your lungs, in the same manner you would wring every drop of water from a wet cloth".
What makes the difference in practising the pure pilates method, is the flow between each exercises, without interruptions. This program should be performed also with a precised dynamic.
Joseph Hubertus Pilates, the History
J.H. Pilates was born in 1880 near DŸsseldorf in Germany. As a child he suffered from asthma, rachitis and rheumatic fever. His interest in physical fitness stemmed from a determination to strenghten his own body and improve his health after a sickly childhood. He studied and practised east- and west techniques and sports like yoga, zen meditation, martial arts, the ancients greek physical education. He has been a gymnast, diver, boxer, skiing, and worked as a circus performer with chinese acrobates. At the age of 14 , his had such a well-trained body, that he could work as a model for Anatomy of the human body.
In 1912 he moved to England and worked as a professional boxer. During this time he trained the Scottland Yard Detective and worked in a circus.
During the first world war, he was prisonner with other citizens in Lancaster. In this time he thaught to his fellow internees his fitness program and helped them to keep a strong body despide the difficult circumstances. After a few months later an influenza epidemic break out and thousand of people died. The from J. Pilates well- trained people only, didn't and remain healthy.
When he had to move to the "isle of Man", he worked an orderly in an infirmary where he could developed his knowledge in the rehabilitation of war injured fellows. He fine-tuned his wellness regimen while interned in England and engineered a way to rig spring on hospital beds to offer light resistance exercises to bedridden patients. He developped and created so different apparatus. The seeds for the Pilates equipment was planed which has been used till nowadays in a modern Form.
After the War he return back to Germany where he continued to elaborate his study. He started to train the Police of Hambourg. He met, during this time, Rudolf Laban, who integrated later J. Pilates method in his work. After, many other pionniers of the Modern dance came to J. Pilates, like Mary Wigman and Hanya Holm.
In 1925, as J.Pilates was invited by the Gouvernement to train the german army, he decided to leave Germany to go to the U.S.A.
In the ship to Amerika he met his future wife Clara Pilates.
In 1926 J.Pilates opened in New York his first studio uptown, and started systematically to resume his unique technique for over 43 years. The first part was dedicated to the "mat" work, a series of exercise programm performed on the mat. This program was resumed in a book defined by him the science of "Contrology" ( this was the true name of his work) , "Return to Life Throught Contrology" (published in 1945 by J.H.Pilates and William John Miller). In this book he described his philosophical approach to exercise.
Then he dedicated time to perfect every single apparatus like the "Univeral Reformer". Soon, some of his students began opening studios of their own and the word Pilates slowly spread. Pilates reputation started popping up at neighborhood gyms. Hollywood celebrities and top athletes started to practise the method and press picked up the story. His studio near the "New York City Ballet" drew a following with dancers who took to Pilates for ist ability to create long, lean muscles and a strong streamelined physique. Legends Martha Graham, Ruth St. Denis , Ted Shaw, Jerome Robins, Lee Strassburg , were among his clientele.
The legendary and great Choreographer George Balanchine defined J.Pilates as "the genious of the body".
J. Pilates died in 1967 in the hospital from the consequence of a firebrand . After his death, Romana Kryzanowska took care of the studio and carry on till nowadays the difficult mission and promise to Joe and Clara Pilates to mantain and spread out in the world this unique method as pure as he has conceived.
Romana Kryzanowska represents today the direct line of the teaching of J. Pilates and the world-renowed protégé of Joseph Pilates. She has been teaching the method for nearly six decades, made a commitment to continue their's life work, and till today she travels the world and teaches the next generation of instructors.
The strenght of the New York School
The certified instructors of Romana's Pilates are classified in different Levels. Each level represents the quality and the experience of the instructor. The IITP "Independent Instructor Training Program" is very intensive. The study included about 700 hours and the students has to complete different stages of seminars and Exams (written and oral). Each teacher must know the complete system of mat exercise and every single apparatus.
The high quality of the New York School
Romana's Pilates offers high qualified instructors. To choose one of this instructors means to avoid to meet teachers who accomplished certifications in a short period of time, without knowing the complete system but only part of it. This structure allowed to have an indipendent organisation who can be identified by the quality the purity of the teaching.
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