A brief history of Joseph H. Pilates

Joseph Hubertus Pilates was born on December 8, 1880 in the German town of Monchengladbach.  As a child he was plagued by rickets, asthma and rheumatic fever.  Pilates was determined to overcome these childhood ailments during his youth and took on various physical regimens including body building, gymnastics, skiing and diving.  By the time he reached age 14, Joseph was posing as a model for anatomy charts.   In 1912 he moved to England.  After WWI broke out in 1914 he was interned along with other German nationals in a camp for enemy aliens in Lancaster, England where he trained other inmates in fitness and exercise.   It was here he began devising his system of original exercises that he later called “Contrology.”  In 1926 he immigrated to the United States and shortly after opened a fitness studio with his wife Clara.    Joseph Pilates wrote two books:  Your Health, in 1934; and Return to Life, in 1945 in which he shares his philosophy and passion for “Contrology” that we now know as The Pilates Method.