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Joseph H. Pilates

"Du wirst Dich nach zehn Stunden besser fühlen, nach zwanzig Stunden besser aussehen und nach dreißig Stunden wirst Du einen komplett neuen Körper haben!"
J. H. Pilates

The founder and namesake of the Pilates method, Joseph Hubertus Pilates (1880-1967), was born near Dusseldorf in Germany. He was a frail and sickly child, so he started a physical fitness regime at a young age. He practiced gymnastics, skiing, and also studied far eastern practices such as yoga and Zen meditation. After moving to England, he earned a living as a boxer and acrobat. Then during his internment during the First World War, he trained as a hospital orderly, and so was able to base the fundamental principles of his method on quite practical considerations. He made bed-ridden patients perform exercises to regain their strength and flexibility. With simple means, he developed special machinery to support these exercises, initially by attaching metal springs to hospital beds. By studying movement and constantly improving on his apparatus, he eventually developed a highly complex method of physical training. His breakthrough ultimately came in the USA of the 1920s. In 1926, Joseph H. Pilates opened his first studio in New York and succeeded in catching the spirit of the age. World-famous dancers and choreographers such as George Balanchine and Martha Graham were among the first to train according to Joseph Pilates' new method – one of the most complex methods of physical training, which has continued to fascinate generations of practitioners ever since.