About Joseph Pilates (1880-1967)
Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1880 with a sunken chest and asthma, he spent his life obsessed with restoring his health and body condition. Over time he overcame his frailty and became an accomplished skier, diver, gymnast, yogi and boxer, maintaining top physical form well into his seventies. While in an English internment camp during WWI ,Pilates rigged springs above hospital beds to allow patients to rehabilitate while lying on their backs.
The Pilates equipment was developed soon after. Joseph eventually emigrated to the U.S. When he settled in New York and opened a training and rehab center for professional dancers. Ballet master George Balanchine and Martha Graham were two of his students. Over the decade, Pilates developed over 500 exercises which he originally called "contrology" but have become known as Pilates after he died in 1967.