THE PILATES METHOD was created by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century. Joseph was born in Germany and believed that poor posture and improper breathing techniques were the cause of many illnesses, from chronic back pain to asthma.
Therefore, he created the Pilates Method which focused on strengthening the core muscles of the body (the stomach, back, and butt) in order to support the spine. By increasing flexibility of the body’s extremities (the arms and legs), the Pilates method creates long, loose, limber limbs. The best analogy of the Pilates Method is to imagine the body is a tree. Both require a strong supportive trunk with limbs that can be tossed around by the wind and remain strong, flexible, balanced, and stable. The focused breath pattern enables practitioners to enhance all their exercises and develop better breathing skills.
Joseph originally developed the method for WWI soldiers (and called it Contrology) but continued to alter the exercises to help increase the strength and flexibility of boxers and NYC dancers.