Far more than a recent fitness craze, Pilates has been developed and practiced since the 1920's when Joseph and Clara Pilates opened their 'Body Conditioning Gym' in New York City.
The studio featured much of the Apparatus designed to enhance his rehabilitation work. It soon became very popular, particularly with the dance community, as it offered a chance to improve technique or recover from injury. Word spread quickly and many celebrities of the day visited his studio. These included dance legends such as Ruth St. Denis, Ted Shawn, Jerome Robbins, George Balanchine and Martha Graham, as well as the actor Jose Ferrer and the author Christopher Isherwood. Originally 60% of the clientele were men.
Joe Pilates based his work on three principles: Breath, whole-body health and whole-body commitment; with the whole-body encompassing mind, body and spirit.
It is in the honoring of the Pilates Principles that the depth of the work is achieved. These Principles are traditionally cited as:
The popularity of the Pilates Method has spread steadily since the day when Pilates first opened his studio. Pilates has now become a worldwide phenomenon with over 12 million people practicing, and the numbers continue to grow due to its effectiveness and adaptability.