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  • The man behind Pilates

    Clinical Pilates Ashburton

    Pilates is a mind-body exercise designed to optimize physical fitness in people at every level of physical ability. It improves flexibility, builds strength and develops control and endurance in the entire body.

    Pilates takes its name from Joseph Pilates. A German-born émigré to Britain and then America. During his internment in World War 1, Joseph Pilates got the chance to work as a nurse. This, in turn, gave him the chance to experiment by attaching springs to hospital beds, so that patients could start toning their muscles even while they were still bed-bound. Such were the origins of the first Pilates machines now known as the Pilates reformer.

    In 1923, Pilates moved to America. He opened his first studio in New York along with Clara, his wife and assistant, whom he had met on the Atlantic crossing. He instantly became a hit, especially amongst the dance community. They found his exercises and methods the best way for prevention but also recovery after an injury.


    Pilates called his technique ‘Controlology’, only later did it become known by his own surname. He conceived it as a mental as well as a physical conditioning in which individuals could work their bodies to their full potential.

    Pilates ashburton

    During his life, he was renowned for summing up what we all need to live a healthy and fulfilling life. Here are some of his most famous quotes.

    Famous quotes by Joseph Pilates


    On Breathing

    ‘Breathing is the first act of life and the last. Our very life depends on it.’


    Health is a Duty

    ‘Not only is health a normal condition, but it is our duty to not only to attain it but to maintain it.’


    Fitness is Connected to Emotion

    ‘Physical fitness is the first requisite of happiness.’


    Physical Fitness is Earned

    ‘Physical fitness can neither be achieved by wishful thinking, nor outright purchase.’


    Look After What You Have

    ‘A man is as young as his spinal column.’


    Pilates is…

    ‘Pilates is complete coordination of body, mind and spirit.’


    Practice Outside

    ‘By all means, never fail to get all the sunshine and fresh air you can.’


    Pilates Heals

    ‘Change happens through movement and movement heals.’


    Your Spine

    ‘If your spine is inflexibly stiff at 30, you are old; if it is completely flexible at 60, you are young.’


    If you are interested in doing Clinical Pilates, give our clinic a call and see if there is a space available in one of our classes