Pilates History



Joseph Pilates was born in Germany in 1880. His father was a gymnast and a native of Greece and his mother was a naturopath, who was born and raised in Germany. He was a sickly child and grew up overachieving physically to overcome his physical disadvantages. He became a circus entertainer to earn his living, while also becoming an accomplished boxer, skier and diver.

During WWI, he helped the soldiers regain their physical and mental health by teaching them his method of "Contrology". Joseph Pilates invented many of the classical pieces of equipment during the war in hospital infirmaries. The original reformer and Cadillac were hospital beds with springs attached to be used for arm and leg conditioning.

In 1930 or so , Joseph Pilates came to the states with his wife (who he met on the boat to the states). He and his wife Clara opened their first Body Contrology studio in NYC. In this studio, the Pilates method became very popular to strengthen injured dancers and even became popular with local business men. Joseph and Clara Pilates continued to teach for many years and started a following to the method of Contrology. Some of Joseph Pilates protégés were Romana Kryzanowska and Jay Grimes.

Theses two individuals later became known as first generation Pilates teachers, as they were taught directly by Joseph Pilates. Joseph Pilates had over 500 original exercises that he taught throughout his career. It is these exact exercises and how they were executed that was passed down from generation to generation and all of these teachings encompass the method of Authentic Pilates. Joseph Pilates died in 1967.


By Appointment Only

Located in
Putnam County
Carmel, New York

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Mon & Tue 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Wed 12:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Thu 11:30 am - 8:00 pm
Fri 8:00 am - 12:00 pm
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Sun 8:00 am - 2:00 pm