Tomorrow would be the 130th birthday of Joseph Hubertus Pilates (1883–1967), whose namesake fitness method, originally called Contrology, is now practiced in thousands of studios around the world.
Vintage Life Magazine articles may document the pioneer in poses, contraptions, and outfits that would make us nervous (or LOL) today, but Pilates was always serious about his practice and the stellar health-promoting benefits that came with it.
Of course, the lineage of Pilates teachers who cite him as an anatomy and movement genius clearly lives on, and his concepts of alignment in daily life and core stability, for instance, have infiltrated the fitness world at large.
To celebrate the often half-dressed, German-born visionary, who lived to the flexible age of 83, we took a closer look at how Joseph Pilates reformed the way we move. (See what we did there?) —Sarah Sarway
Another one of Pilates’s hard-working students, Romana Kryzanowska, went on to teach the practice to others. She became known as one of “the Elders,” or original practitioners, who continued to spread Pilates’s original practice to the world.
What would Mr. Pilates make of the evolution of his Wunda Chair or the birth of the Megaformer? We’re guessing he’d appreciate just how important core-consciousness has become in fitness and in everyday life—and how many of us are walking (without slouching) proof of his theory.
(Photo: Erika Bloom)
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