Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1880. In 1912 he moved to England and earned a living as a boxer, a circus performer and a self-defense trainer. During World Was I he was sent to a camp in Lancaster where he trained other inmates in fitness and exercises and this is where the beginning of the Pilates method stemmed from.
It was about 1925 when Joseph Pilates migrated to the U.S. On the ship he came over on, he met his future wife, Clara. In New York City, they began a studio and taught and supervised students all the way until the 1960's.
Pilates method of exercise used the mind to control the muscles of the body. It focuses on the core muscles of the abdomen to help keep the body balanced. A balanced body provides support for the spine.
Pilates also teaches awareness of breathing and alignment of the spine to strengthen the torso muscles. Strong core muscles can help to relieve back and neck pain.
When Joseph Pilates was a child, he was sickly, suffering from asthma, rickets and rheumatic fever. It was after this that he began to dedicate his life to better health and becoming physically stronger.
By the age of 14, he was fit enough to post for anatomical charts mostly due to his practicing of gymnastics and bodybuilding.
Joseph believed the root of poor health came from poor breathing practices and bad posture. His practice of Pilates is undoubtedly the most popular form of exercise today.