Pilates, Joseph

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Pilates, Joseph Gender: M
Joseph Hubertus Pilates
born on 9 December 1883 at 00:30 (= 12:30 AM )
Place Mönchengladbach, Germany, 51n12, 6e28
Timezone LMT m6e28 (is local mean time)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Scholfield
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_sagcol.18.gif 16°37' s_mo.18.gif s_aricol.18.gif 06°05 Asc.s_vircol.18.gif 26°23'


German bodybuilder who invented and promoted the Pilates method of physical fitness.

In about 1925, Pilates migrated to the United States. On the ship to America, he met his future wife Clara. The couple founded a studio in New York City and directly taught and supervised their students well into the 1960s. His method, which he and Clara originally called "Contrology," related to encouraging the use of the mind to control muscles. It focuses attention on core postural muscles that help keep the human body balanced and provide support for the spine. In particular, Pilates exercises teach awareness of breath and of alignment of the spine, and strengthen the deep torso and abdominal muscles.

Joseph and Clara Pilates soon established a devout following in the local dance and the performing-arts community of New York. Well-known dancers such as George Balanchine, who arrived in the United States in 1933, and Martha Graham, who had come to New York in 1923, became devotees and regularly sent their students to the Pilates for training and rehabilitation. His exercise regimen built flexibility, strength and stamina. Soon after it became known that ballerinas were attending the Pilates gym on 8th Avenue, society women followed.

Joseph Pilates wrote several books, including Return to Life through Contrology and Your Health, and he was also a prolific inventor, with over 26 patents cited. Joe and Clara had a number of disciples who continued to teach variations of his method or, in some cases, focused exclusively on preserving the method, and the instructor-training techniques, they had learned during their studies with Joe and Clara.

Joseph Pilates died on 9 October 1967 at the age of 83 in New York.

Link to Wikipedia biography



Source Notes

Sy Scholfield quotes birth certificate published on the German Pilates Association website [1], and same data in a book quoting the Mönchengladbach city archives for a birth time of 12:30 a.m.: "Hubertus Joseph Pilates wurde am 9.12.1883, nachts um 0.30 Uhr, in einem heute nicht mehr existierenden Haus in der Waldhausener Str. 20 in Mönchengladbach als zweites der insgesamt 9 Kinder des Ehepaars Helena und Heinrich Friedrich Pilates geboren." ["Das Pilates-Lehrbuch" by Verena Geweniger and ‎Alexander Bohlander (Springer, 2012), p. 7].


  • Vocation : Healing Fields : Alternative methods (Pilates method)
  • Vocation : Sports : Other Sports (bodybuilder)
  • Vocation : Writers : Textbook/ Non-fiction

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